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Frostburg State University’s 132nd Commencement Ceremonies Slated for May 17

Frostburg State University will celebrate and recognize the achievements of its May 2008 graduating class during the University’s 132nd commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 17, in the Harold J. Cordts Physical Education Center’s Main Arena on the FSU campus.

Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter, FSU President, will confer degrees on graduates during two exercises throughout the day. The College of Business and the College of Education ceremonies will start at 10 a.m. and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will present degrees beginning at 2 p.m.

Samantha Farris, College of Business; Rhonda Johns, College of Education; and Richard Scott, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, are the featured student speakers for the spring commencement exercises. Scott, who is also this year’s student regent for the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, will offer congratulatory greetings at both ceremonies.

In addition, FSU will be awarding two Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards to Ralph Jordan and Dr. Barry Phillips.

Accounting major Samantha Farris knows the right equation not only for crunching numbers, but also for finding success. According to her professors, Farris, a native of Lovettsville, Va., is “hardworking, dedicated, organized and self-motivated,” a fitting description for someone who has juggled a variety of commitments while maintaining a perfect 4.0. Farris’ activities and achievements include serving as vice president for the FSU Accounting Association; interning with Ryan & Wetmore, P.C., a leading accounting and management consulting firm in Frederick, Md., and winning numerous prestigious scholarships. In the words of accounting department chair Sharon Robinson, Farris is truly “a role model and inspiration to other students.”

Rhonda Johns, an exercise and sport science major from Stevensville, Md., has spent her time at FSU getting in top physical and academic shape. Her busy schedule has included everything from participating in a senior citizen exercise program to working as a group fitness instructor to serving as an intern with the team that launched the Life Fitness Management facility in LaVale. Johns has also maintained a stellar 4.0 GPA and obtained certification as a personal trainer while balancing all of her activities. This is why the faculty are quick to describe Johns as “one of our top graduates of all time” and “a true star” of the College of Education.

Richard Scott, a double major in political science and theatre who grew up in Chesapeake Beach, Md., has made his mark at FSU as a University Theatre actor, as president of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Student Government Association senator and perhaps most significantly, as the student regent of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, a position in which he represents 137,000 students from USM universities throughout Maryland. Scott will be remembered for his efforts with FSU’s voter registration drives and USM’s sustainability initiatives, including as a National Policy and Organizing Fellow at the Energy Action Coalition. The political science department is proud of Scott’s abilities as an “excellent writer with a keen and engaged analytical mind” and “truly exceptional public speaking skills,” all qualities that will continue to lead him to success following his graduation from FSU. His next achievements begin in July, when Scott will attend the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre School Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.

At the morning ceremony, FSU will honor alumnus Ralph E. Jordan, founder, president and CEO of Trident Health Resources, Inc. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Frostburg, Jordan went on to become a noted leader, innovator and entrepreneur in the health care industry. His credentials include founding Trident Surgical Corp., a company that distributed innovative specialty medical and surgical products, as well as establishing a Bio-Tech company, Trident Scientific Corp. and General Hospital Corp., which developed out-patient surgery centers across the country. He is an active Frostburg alumnus, serving on the FSU College of Business Advisory Board for four years and serving on the Board of Advisors for the Sloop Leadership Institute. He has also worked as a member of the committee for the Sloop Alumni/Speakers Program for two years and was named to the FSU Foundation Board in 2007.

Alumnus Dr. Barry Phillips, senior vice president for NAFTA, HSEQ and Future Business at Bayer MaterialScience, will be honored at the afternoon ceremony. Phillips has more than 30 years of experience in leading research, development and manufacturing in the field of polymers, plastics and inorganic materials, rising to a major leadership role in Bayer MaterialScience, one of the leading polymer companies in North America. A native of Mount Savage, Md., Phillips earned a bachelor of science degree from Frostburg in chemistry, a doctorate in organic chemistry from West Virginia University and did post doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska. He holds several patents and has authored numerous technical papers. Phillips was instrumental in orchestrating a donation of lab equipment and supplies from Bayer to FSU for the Bayer MaterialScience Chemistry Lab in the Compton Science Center.

Provost Dr. Stephen Simpson; Dr. Ken Witmer, dean of the College of Education; Dr. Danny Arnold, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will present candidates for degrees during commencement.

Tickets are required for admission to the spring commencement. For more information, visit the commencement Web site at

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589