Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Chancellor Caret Among Guests at SU Winter Commencement
|Chancellor Robert Caret||Jennifer Truitt-Lewis||Cherilyn Larkins|
The SU Alumni Association also makes the day special for several University community members. Jennifer Truitt-Lewis, who earned her B.A. in elementary education from SU in 2004, receives the Young Alumni Achievement Award. After graduating from Salisbury, she began her teaching career in Wicomico County, going on to earn an M.Ed. in education law from Park University in 2008 and a master’s in education administration from Arizona State University in 2014 — the second while battling stage 3A breast cancer. Today, she is principal of Colonel Johnston Elementary School in Fort Huachuca, AZ, and an adjunct faculty member at Northern New Mexico College. She remains a passionate advocate for breast cancer survivors through her work with the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Arizona.
Also presented during the ceremony are the association’s annual Faculty Appreciation Awards. This year’s recipients are Dr. Chrys Egan of the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Dr. David Rieck of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, Paula Morris of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, and Dr. Laurie Andes of the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies.
The Commencement speaker is Cherilyn Larkins of Northeast, MD, who receives her M.S.W. As a non-traditional student earning her degree via the SU Social Work Department’s satellite program at Cecil College, she may not be as familiar with the physical campus as many of her classmates — she visited just once — but faculty made sure that did not detract from her experience.
“They may have been teaching from a distance, but they really inspired us,” she said. “Some professors I never met face-to-face, but through our email exchanges and videos, I don’t think I missed anything.”
They included Drs. Eileen Gilheany, Debbie Mathews, Batya Hyman, Rachel Buchanan and former distance learning coordinator Letha Moszer.
Larkins returned to school in her 40s to pursue her degree after a divorce that left her a single mother to four boys, now 11-19. The experience drew the family closer together and allowed her to serve as a role model to them, she said. She hopes her new credentials will help further her career with the Maryland Department of Social Services in Cecil County. She also hopes to focus more on writing and motivational speaking.
With more life experience than many of her fellow graduates, she offered some advice she hopes others in the auditorium during Commencement will take to heart: “Treat everything in life as a gift, even though you might not like the way it feels at the time. It is those experiences that make you who you are. No matter what challenges you’ve faced, you can do great things.”
Among undergraduates, 558 students receive the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Some 85 receive master’s degrees and one a doctorate.
Admission to Commencement is by ticket only. A reception at the Civic Center follows. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.