UMES graduates prep for their big day
By Vanessa Junkin Daily Times Staff Writer
PRINCESS ANNE —Some of the 273 students who will graduate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on Friday can relax, knowing they’ve not only completed years of schoolwork but also have jobs waiting for them when they leave.
Alyssa and Lindsay Wilcox
Alyssa Wilcox of Atlantic and her twin sister, Lindsay, of Chincoteague are two of those students.
Both sisters, who commute from the Eastern Shore of Virginia together, are accounting majors and have been interning at PKS &Co. in Salisbury since last summer, Alyssa Wilcox said. They were each offered full-time jobs there last week, she said.
Both students are in the top 5 percent of their class, according to UMES spokeswoman Gail Stephens.
Alyssa Wilcox is set to give the student commentary at commencement, and she said she plans to discuss the future and tell her fellow students they should remember UMES and know where they got their education.
“I hope that they feel inspired to do something with their lives after they graduate; that they strive to do whatever they can to the best of their ability,” she said.
Also addressing the students will be Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who served as secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush.
One of the many other hats Sullivan has worn is that of chairman of President George W. Bush’s Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Sullivan said he feels HBCUs provide opportunities for people who may not otherwise have them.
“I’m strongly committed to these institutions because of the important role that they play,” Sullivan said.
He said during his address, he’ll talk about leadership and the role he wants graduates to have in their future careers.
Sullivan said he likes interacting with young people and is looking forward to visiting UMES for the first time.
“I would say that in my own life as a young person, I learned a lot from those in the world that had experienced a lot, and I hope to have a similar influence on these young people,” he said.
One of the 14 international students graduating Friday is Robel Lakwe of Ethiopia, who Stephens said is also in the top 5 percent of his class.
Robel D. Lakwe
Lakwe is a business major with a finance concentration and said he knows all the teachers in the department, who he gets to talk to one-on-one often.
“I really have a close relationship with all of them,” he said.
He is currently deciding which of his job offers to take. He’s considering one offer from the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and another from the Depository Trust &Clearing Corp.’s Tampa, Fla., office —where he has completed an internship.
“I love Ethiopia, don’t get me wrong, but I like the opportunity here,” Lakwe said.
In the future, Lakwe said he wants to give back to others.
Two former faculty members will receive the honor of professor emeritus at the event: Sally Bing, former associate professor of education, and Ernest Satchell, former chairman of the department of fine arts.
Of the 273 graduates, 235 will receive undergraduate degrees, 29 will graduate with master’s degrees and nine will obtain doctoral degrees.
There are 177 Maryland graduates, with 55 from the state’s Lower Shore, according to Stephens.
Commencement begins at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center on campus at 10 a.m., and guests should be seated by 9:30 a.m.
UMES spokesman Bill Robinson said tickets have already been distributed.
This article was published in the Salisbury Daily Times and is reproduced here with the newspaper's permission.