May 8, 2018 | By Jake Weber
Albion College's Class of 2018 was the first class brought in with President Mauri Ditzler, so their May 5 Commencement reflected their shared values. From the senior speaker and senior class gift to honorary doctorates awarded, the campus celebrated the academic accomplishments and community engagement that have been integral to these newest alumni.
Board of Trustees Chair Don Sheets noted that the student body has grown by nearly 25 percent since the new graduates' first year on campus. Among their future plans are doctoral programs in biological science, biomedical science and astronomy; law school; graduate work in mathematics; a Fulbright teaching post in Germany and a Peace Corps assignment to Morocco.
Senior speaker Madison Kase, '18, likened their Albion experience to the trajectory of a love story, complete with important dates, shared growth and mutual affection.
"Today we walk, taking our first steps into life beyond college, into a long-distance relationship with our beloved Albion," she said. "Our days here are no longer infinite, but our memories and experiences are. Campus may not always look as it does now, but its love will always feel the same. Albion will always be here for us."
Community members and 1974 alumni Bill and Karen Knudson Dobbins, as well as historian Leslie Dick and history professor Wesley Arden Dick, were all recognized for local leadership with honorary doctorates. Bill and Karen have been involved with Kids 'N' Stuff Museum, the Swingin' at the Shell concert series and current efforts on behalf of Albion's revitalization, including the Peabody Building renovation and the Albion Reinvestment Corpporation. Leslie and Wes have brought national- and state-funded history research projects to Albion in addition to being community leaders, especially through service to the NAACP.
A Briton Medallion was also awarded to 1953 alumni Dr. Bruce and Peggy Sale Kresge. The Kresges, along with the Kresge Foundation, provided the lead gift to build Kresge Hall, which opened in 2006 within the Science Complex. Bruce, who served his patients and Detroit-area community during a three-decade family practice, also served 34 years on the College's Board of Trustees and continues as an honorary trustee.
Sam Shaheen, '88, a teaching physician at Central Michigan University and president/CEO of Shaheen Development, also received an honorary doctorate and delivered the Commencement address. He discussed his two distinct professions: helping to heal individuals and transform communities. He has been a key player in revitalization projects in Saginaw and Bay City, along with the creation of both the Ludington Center and Courtyard Marriott hotel in downtown Albion.
"Whether you're going to serve as a teacher, accountant, lawyer, artist, or health care professional, look to and beyond your profession for opportunities to provide for your community. All of us who are so richly served, must commit to serve," he said. "Know what you can be passionate about. If you don't know what that is, make it a top priority."
"Now that you’ve completed your coursework, your meetings, and most of your sporting events, we have new expectations. The list is long, but you are capable," said Anne McCauley, W.W. Diehl, ’24 Trustees’ Endowed Professor of Art, as part of the faculty farewell. "Save the planet. Generate harmony and peace, equity and fairness. End war. Cure disease. Create or inspire great art in all its forms. Be respectful, kind, and inclusive. Keep your brain sharp and young by exercising it with others. Be someone you respect. Be happy. Make others happy."