Roger N. Beachy, who was appointed director of the newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in 2009 by President Obama, will deliver the 2010 commencement address at Monmouth College to approximately 250 graduating seniors during the college’s 153rd annual commencement exercises on May 16. The ceremony will begin at noon on Wallace Hall Plaza.
After graduating with a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University, Beachy devoted his research to agricultural methods of reducing food shortages around the world. In 1978, he joined the biology faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, where he worked as a professor and director of the Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology.
From 1991 to 1998, he headed the division of plant biology at The Scripps Research Institute, a leading biomedical research center in La Jolla, Calif., before serving as the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Mo. Beachy was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 2001 “for the use of recombinant DNA technology to revolutionize plant and animal sciences, paving the way for applications to neighboring fields.”
Monmouth's commencement ceremony will conclude a weekend of activities honoring the Class of 2010. Saturday’s events will include a baccalaureate service at 3 p.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium; a new event, the President’s Senior Gala; and a free concert by the Monmouth Chorale and the Monmouth Winds at 8:00 p.m. in the Kasch Performance Hall of Dahl Chapel.
The baccalaureate service will feature traditional religious hymns and scripture readings by Monmouth College faculty, staff and students and a litany led by President Mauri Ditzler. The Monmouth College Chorale will sing several hymns, and Anthony St. Clair, a junior from Overland Park, Kansas, will play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. The Rev. Dr. Kathleen Fannin will present her final sermon as chaplain before retiring at the end of the semester.
Held in Glennie Gym at 4:30 p.m., the President’s Senior Gala revives and expands Monmouth’s tradition of a ceremonial dinner for the graduating class. One of the highlights of the event will be the acceptance of the senior class gift by President Ditzler.
On Sunday, seniors will gather for a class photo on the steps of the Huff Athletic Center at 10:30 a.m. and, at 11:30 a.m., participants will line up for the traditional processional from Broadway to the Wallace Hall Plaza. Their march will be accompanied by music from the Monmouth College Pipe Band.
Jane Jakoubek, vice president for academic affairs, will announce each graduate and President Ditzler will confer a degree. John Kaiser, a senior from Hanover Park and the college’s 2009 Lincoln Laureate, will bid farewell to the college on behalf of the graduating class, and President Ditzler will reciprocate on behalf of the college.
The program will also include conferral of an honorary degree to an exemplary pre-college teacher. Members of the senior class submitted nominations, and this year’s winner is Heather Brown, an English teacher at Woodstock High School. She was nominated by senior Katelyn Griffith.
"Dr. Brown's influence on my life has inspired me to be a voracious and inquisitive learner and has prepared me to get the very most out of my liberal arts education at Monmouth College,” wrote Griffith in her nomination. “It was not until I became a student in Dr. Brown’s American Survey class that I finally understood that all of my years of school prior to that actually meant something. It was then that I saw just how all those years of schooling could be woven together to gain a larger understanding of the world.”
In the event of rain, the exercises will be moved to the fieldhouse of the Huff Athletic Center.