George Wythe University
The Statesman
George Wythe University The Statesman
July 2013
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Home / Archive / Campus News - November 2008

George Wythe University Commencement 2008

By Margret Milius

When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,
And the slave, where’er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb
To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime
Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time.

As the graduates finished filing to the front of the stage, the house went black and a single light appeared as once more we heard the George Wythe College Hymn performed. These first stanzas thrilled the audience as the words of James Russell Lowell came to life with Martha Levie’s performance. It was a poignant end to the ceremonies and a warm summary of the overall theme of this year’s Commencement. A theme of hope amongst troubled times pervaded. Each speaker emphasized that Statesmanship is not the easiest path, nor the fastest, but with it, freedom would prevail.

The atmosphere of harmony created by the beautiful performance of A. Corelli’s La Folia, performed by Emily Black on the piano and Kimberli Hansen on the violin, prepared us for the proffered thoughts of each address.

Bryan Hyde, Valedictorian of the class of 2008, engaged the audience with his professional voice. He spoke of the tendency to defer responsibility to others, “Everyone can agree that statesmanship is a wonderful thing but we would prefer it to be practiced by someone else…Instead of someone calling out, ‘please, be a Statesman,’ we need someone to say, ‘you, be a Statesman.’”

Jason Gardener, Salutatorian, lightened the mood as he listed steps to gaining a great education from a “lazy-boy”. He emphasized that it is not easy, “thinking hurts! If we don’t think for ourselves…someone will be glad to do it for us.”

Emily Black, Salutatorian, captivated us as she began, “You see it in the faces.” She said, “the most important work of any generation is to reclaim the faces.” She described the sorrow and bitter numbness of faces lost in calamity, finishing, “Humanity is our work. It will be difficult. There is no question that these times will try our souls. Our reward will be the faces.”

Each Graduate accepted their diplomas from Dr. Groft, President of the Cedar Campus, with a smile and radiance of accomplishment. A standing ovation met the new Dr. Elizabeth Smailes as she received the rarely awarded “Thomas Jefferson Degree.”

Dr. Shane Schulthies, in his Keynote Address, lamented the inability to participate in a dialogue with the audience in this setting. He created the vision of each graduate and audience member sitting within a room as they discussed a valid and variable issue of these times—fear. Many people see the bleak outlook of the future and choose to live without family to protect innocent children from entering an awful worldwide crisis. “As you may know, I now have ten children,” said Dr. Schulthies, bringing a chuckle from the audience. He continued, “I have reasons for optimism.”

“Freedom is one of the greatest factors for good on this earth…overall, our world is freer than at any other time,” said Schulthies. In reply to the criticism and hopeless forecast of the current generation’s selfish lack of initiative or ability to sacrifice, he said, “…when the crisis arrives, many will arise to the crisis.” He emphasized the current high rate of service compared to the low rate of confidence in the government. “It is not the township forms that mattered but the township spirit,” he told us, “seeds of this township spirit lie buried in the hearts of 1000s.” He shared his optimistic hope in a Divine Creator.

Turning to the Graduates, he said, “As you commence on your lives, may I suggest two areas in which we do fall short, especially if we will have the future which I envision.”

He spoke first of Wisdom, through which we gain “a keen understanding, that only Liber Education can bring, of human nature, societal forms, and principles.” Second, he emphasized the need for Leadership, “Crises require exceptional cooperation but this does not happen without exceptional Leadership.” Dr. Schulthies named this special leadership, Statesmanship, “to help move what is to what ought to be.”

His parting challenge was that “you commence to be Statesmen, that you be men and women of virtue, wisdom, diplomacy, and courage, who inspire greatness in others and move the cause of liberty.”

The house lights came up following the benediction and the audience began happy reunions with old friends and swarmed around the graduates offering congratulations with the final stanzas of the college hymn still ringing in their ears,

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! We ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future’s portal with the Past’s blood-rusted key.

View the Commencement 2008 Photo Gallery 

Class of 2008

Baccalaureate

Lydia Florize Bahr
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Magna Cum Laude 

Jenessa Benson
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Cum Laude 

Emily Black
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Summa Cum Laude 

Stephanie Lyon Francom
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship 

Jason David Gardner
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Magna Cum Laude 

Jenilyn Galvez Gardner
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Cum Laude 

Taylor Bret Smith
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Magna Cum Laude 

Kyla Jillayne Thomas
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Magna Cum Laude

Bryan Paul Hyde
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Magna Cum Laude

Matthew Dayne Jensen
Bachelor of Arts,
Statesmanship
Cum Laude 

Masters

Gary Leon Arnell
Master of Arts, Education

Stephanie Lyon Francom
Master of Arts, Political Economy

Donna Gene Jasper Goff
Master of Arts, Education
Cum Laude

Meghan Faye Schulthies
Master of Arts, Education
Summa Cum Laude

Paul Kincaid-Smith
Master of Arts,
Political Economy

Jillayne S. Thomas
Master of Arts, Education

Elizabeth Jane Quist
Master of the Arts, Education
Magna Cum Laude 

Doctorate

Elizabeth Jane Smailes
Doctor of Philosophy,
Constitutional Law

 

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