Making a splash: College of Science & Mathematics graduates celebrate Commencement 2017

Making a splash: College of Science & Mathematics graduates celebrate Commencement 2017

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What’s a few raindrops among Profs?

That was the vibe as approximately 700 graduate and undergraduate students happily endured intermittent spritzing rain to celebrate their graduation from Rowan University’s College of Science & Mathematics during Commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 11.

As family members and well-wishers donned ponchos and hoisted colorful umbrellas—more than a few with Rowan logos—to celebrate the graduates’ achievements on the University Green, Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., delivered the keynote address.

Malcom, who accepted an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the ceremony, is an internationally recognized leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and technology.

The wonder of science “is the knowledge that keeps going and giving,” Malcom said in her message, discussing her own experiences growing up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950s and ’60s at the height of the Civil Rights movement. She attended segregated schools.

Fifty years ago, Malcom earned her bachelor’s in zoology from the University of Washington, putting her on the path to her achievements as a high school teacher, professor and international advocate for females in STEM fields. She also holds a master’s degree in zoology from the University of California at Los Angeles and a doctorate in ecology from Pennsylvania State University.

 “The wonder of science is that it thrives. And it comes from women and men from every neighborhood, of every background imaginable and of every country in the world.

“Over my journey, I came to appreciate how science thrives with diversity—that science knows no borders, that science must be a welcoming and open space where all can contribute, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, identify or social background,” Malcom continued. “That is the kind of world science opened to me and that is the kind of world that I hope science always will strive to protect.”

Malcom ended her message by telling a story about Albert Einstein and his commitment to civil and human rights. She urged the class to “Go forward. Do well. But, also, do good.”

In congratulating the graduates, Dean Karen Magee-Sauer reminded them of the $100 million gift bestowed upon the institution by Henry and Betty Rowan in 1992.

The Rowans’ gift was a “big slash” that “created a ripple effect that elevated every facet of the University—especially the College of Science & Mathematics,” Magee-Sauer said, using a poignant metaphor for the somewhat soggy, but nevertheless joyful, afternoon.

“I hope you will show your gratitude to Henry Rowan by creating your own splash in the world.”