|Allison Trotter||Sarah Slabaugh Blondeaux|
This year’s commencement speakers are graduates Allison Trotter of Damascus, MD, at the 10 a.m. ceremony, and Sarah Slabaugh Blondeaux of Delmar, MD, at 2 p.m.
Joining the graduates are the 2012 President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award recipients. Community supporter Debbie Abbott and Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County are recognized during the morning ceremony. Dr. George Whitehead of ShoreCorps/PALS (Partnership for Adolescents on the Lower Shore) and the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce receive the award that afternoon.
For Trotter, an elementary education major, SU became a second home — and her second university. She transferred to Salisbury as a sophomore after deciding to concentrate on education instead of her three previous majors: theatre, art and physics.
“From day one, it was clear that the faculty were interested in my education and dedicated themselves to me,” she said.
During the next three years, two faculty members, in particular, helped guide her educational philosophy. Dr. Keith Conners, SU advisor to the Kappa Delta Pi international education honor society, of which Trotter is president, and Dr. Ed Robeck, with whom she studied abroad in India, “opened my eyes to a new world,” she said. Specifically, they helped teach her the importance of a work-life balance and that work could be fun.
After commencement, Trotter hopes to teach fourth-grade social studies or language courses, or spend time teaching English as a second language in Spain.
Some 738 students graduate from the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business and Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies that morning.
In the afternoon, 867 students from the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts and Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology will hear a different story.
Blondeaux, a biology major and member of the Beta Beta Beta national biological honor society, knew she wanted to study medicine even before she transferred to SU. She chose minors — sociology and chemistry — that she hopes will help her prepare for the medical field mentally, as well as intellectually. She has been accepted to attend the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Like Trotter, she met some impressive faculty at SU, including Drs. Patti Erickson of the Biological Sciences Department and Diane Illig of the Sociology Department, both of whom she calls “incredible.” She credits Erickson with shaping her academic experience as a research mentor and was inspired by Illig’s personal investment and attention to students. Blondeaux encouraged her fellow graduates to remember the faculty that touched their lives as they leave Salisbury and mentor others just as they were mentored. She also urged them to continue learning.
“Don’t forget that learning does not end after you graduate,” she said. “We have the skills to continue learning. If you want to succeed, you have to push yourself to learn even more. No one is going to hand it to you.”
After earning her medical degree, she hopes to return to her native Eastern Shore to work in women’s health.
Some 1,424 undergraduate students receive the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Some 181 receive master’s degrees.
Admission to Commencement is by ticket only. A reception at the Civic Center follows each ceremony. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.