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Press Releases

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 19 Graduating Class to Be SU's Largest Yet

Laura Oakley Bobby Audley
Laura Oakley Bobby Audley
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University graduates the largest class in its history—some 1,539 students—during 85th year Spring Commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 19, at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

This year’s commencement speakers are Honors graduates Laura Oakley of Somers, NY, at the 10 a.m. ceremony, and Bobby Audley of Liverpool, NY, at 2 p.m.

Joining the graduates are the 2011 President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award recipients, who are recognized at the morning ceremony: Dr. Carolyn Stegman, author, educator and volunteer; and Dove Pointe, Inc., which serves persons with disabilities.

For Oakley, an elementary education major, SU was love at first sight during her initial campus visit. The feelings deepened as the University shaped her in ways she had not anticipated.

“My new ideas were welcomed,” she said, and her professors’ passion for learning was infectious. Now “I don’t just want to be a good teacher; I want to be a revolutionary teacher.” Like her mentors, she wants a career filled with passion.

Oakley credits several SU faculty for guiding her toward science education, including Drs. Claudia Burgess and Ed Robeck of the Teacher Education Department, and Brent Zaprowski of the Geography and Geosciences Department. Because of Zaprowski, she minored in earth science. She said two study trips abroad taught her that the pursuit of knowledge is an exciting and never-ending exploration.

This summer, she hopes to put her training to good use as an assistant environmental science teacher at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, MD. After that, she wants to remain in Maryland and teach.

Some 662 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, 877 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. For Audley, a political science and history major, SU wasn’t exactly love at first sight. He had enrolled as a freshman with ambitions of playing for the championship men’s lacrosse team. When he didn’t make the cut, he transferred to Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania. Although he enjoyed playing lacrosse, he missed SU—so much so that, a semester later, he transferred back. Returning “was the best decision I’ve ever made,” he said.

Eventually, he did get to play for a championship SU lacrosse squad—the club team—which took the National College Lacrosse League Division I title in 2010. He loved learning from SU faculty and staff, such as Dr. Lucy Morrison, associate director of the Bellavance Honors Program; Ginie Lynch, managing director of the University’s Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE); and Jennifer Blackwell, director of student activities, as well as the staff of the Student Affairs and Activities offices. And more: “It was the culture at SU that changed my life,” he said. From “Ms. Barbara” in the dining hall to Catholic Campus Ministry to the Atheist Society to the Quidditch Club, “we have a culture here at Salisbury that embraces everyone.” He believes this culture has prepared graduates to be agents of change in the greater community--and world.

Some 1,360 undergraduate students receive the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Some 179 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

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