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UMES holds spring commencement

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Honorary degree recipients May 2014
    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (May 12, 2014) - John R. Lewis, a civil rights icon and senior Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, will speak to nearly 500 graduates and 4,000 family members and friends Friday at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 127th Spring Commencement.

    Lewis, considered one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, spoke to some 250,000 protesters in August 1963 at the March on Washington where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.  He was arrested some 40 times and endured physical attacks during non-violent marches-most notably "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala.-a formative moment of the Civil Rights Movement.  He is co-author of the best-selling graphic-novel, "March," that recounts his Civil Rights experiences.

    For his dedication to human rights and civil liberties, Lewis will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters from UMES.  He holds over 50 honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international organizations, including the Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

    The university will also award Doctor of Public Service honorary degrees to local notables Freddy Mitchell, the chief executive officer of SHORE UP! Inc. and Peggy Naleppa, president and chief executive officer of Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Peninsula Health Systems.

    Mitchell is credited with expanding SHORE UP!, a Community Action Program, from four programs to 25 and a budget of less than $1 million to that of $25 million.  The organization employs over 300 people, who provide community services within seven counties on the Shore to over 15,000 individuals and families each year.

    Naleppa, a healthcare executive for over 30 years, leads the region's largest and most advanced tertiary trauma care facility.  PRMC is an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, a group of academic and community-based clinical researchers collaborating on new advances in diagnostic, treatment and disease prevention.  The medical center in the past six years has received over 125 national recognitions. 

    The Daily Record in Baltimore named her one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2013.  She was also named for two consecutive years as One of the 130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know by Becker's Hospital Review among other accolades.

    Among this year's graduating class at UMES are 55 candidates receiving the university's unique three-year PharmD degree-the second graduating class from the program.  The other top programs by numbers are criminal justice, hospitality and tourism management (formerly Hotel and Restaurant Management) and biology. 

    Some 316, or 67 percent of the 2014 graduates, are Marylanders; 79 of which are from the lower Eastern Shore.


     Gail Stephens,assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations,410-651-7580.