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Weather forces commencement indoors

Barry McNamara
A forecast of cool, rainy weather has forced Monmouth College's 154th annual commencement exercises indoors.

The ceremony, which this year will feature mostly student speakers, will begin Sunday at noon in the Huff Athletic Center fieldhouse. The senior class photo will be taken in Glennie Gymnasium at 10:30 a.m.

“When we sort through all of the many things that make up the college experience, and we find the common denominator, it’s student success,” said Monmouth College president Mauri Ditzler, who will be one of the few exceptions to student speakers. “We could think of no better way to celebrate that success than by having several of our talented graduates contribute to the commencement ceremony in very meaningful ways.”

Nearly a dozen of Monmouth’s 280 graduates will have speaking roles at the ceremony. They include Trevor Newton of Lemont, who served as president of the Associated Students of Monmouth College for the past year. He will be present at the podium throughout the program, introducing the various speakers. Derek Huff of Edmonds, Wash., MC’s 2010 Lincoln Laureate, and senior class president Hope Grebner of Green Valley will address their fellow graduates. Lauren Zak of Burr Ridge will introduce her Spanish teacher at Hinsdale South High School, Fran Mirro, who is this year’s recipient of Monmouth’s exemplary pre-college teacher award.

“The most exemplary quality Senora Mirro possesses is her ability to successfully immerse students into the language, while keeping the curriculum student-centered, relevant and engaging,” wrote Zak in her winning nomination. “While studying education at Monmouth College, I have learned the importance of constantly keeping the curriculum revolved around the students, and keeping the class engaging for all types of learners. I know how crucial it is to learning, because I was exposed to it in my advanced placement course with Senora Mirro. I felt empowered each and every day in her class, and this is something I will strive for everyday when I have a classroom of my own.”

Jim Fry of Monmouth, who has served as a student chaplain throughout his time on campus, will offer the invocation, and six graduating seniors will announce faculty promotions that have recently been approved.

Also speaking will be retiring professor of humanities David Suda, who is completing a 27-year career at Monmouth.

“David Suda was the professor we turned to when we needed a lecture on what it means to be liberally educated,” said Ditzler, referring to the annual “Introduction to Liberal Arts” talk that Suda gave for many years to the freshman class. “This commencement speech gives him one final opportunity to tell us all about the liberal arts.”

Monmouth’s commencement ceremony will conclude a weekend of activities honoring the Class of 2011. Saturday’s events included a baccalaureate service, the President’s Senior Gala, and a free concert by the Monmouth Chorale, the Monmouth Winds and the Monmouth Chamber Orchestra.
A photo album of those events can be viewed at:
On Sunday, seniors will gather for a class photo in Glennie Gymnasium at 10:30 a.m. and, at 11:30 a.m., participants will line up for the traditional commencement procession. Their march will be accompanied by music from the Monmouth College Pipe Band. The Monmouth Winds will provide incidental music. Dean of faculty David Timmerman will announce each graduate, and President Ditzler will confer a degree.