News Archive

2006 Commencement Speaker Announced

Retiring President Kathleen Bowman will speak

4/13/2006 11:03:44 AM


LYNCHBURG — Retiring President Kathleen Gill Bowman will be the 2006 Commencement speaker on May 14 in the Dell.

Bowman, whose 12-year-tenure will end this year, began her presidency in 1994 as the College’s eighth president. During Bowman’s tenure, the College underwent extensive change and globalization, while maintaining its traditional high academic standards. New majors were created in Environmental Studies and American Culture, each anchored by an endowed professorship. The College announced new graduate degree programs in education last year.

Under Bowman’s leadership, the College created numerous opportunities to expand its international offerings, including the creation of endowments that bring international faculty and speakers to campus and allow students and faculty to study abroad. In 2002, the College was recognized by the Association for International Educators (NAFSA) as one of 16 exemplary institutions in the United States for globalization of its campus.

Bowman was also instrumental in creating the Pearl. S. Buck Award, a national event designed to bring women global leaders to campus. Recent winners include Corazon Aquino, Sheikh Hasina, Jehan Sadat, Mary Robinson and Maya Lin.

During Bowman’s tenure, R-MWC undertook the largest capital campaign in the College’s history, raising more than $100 million and establishing 120 new endowed funds. The College campus has seen extensive renovation, including the installation of state of the art teaching and learning technology as well as the renovation of numerous buildings, classrooms, studios and performance spaces. State of the art soccer and softball facilities were also added. Extensive renovations and additions to the College’s Physical Education and Recreation Building are also planned for the coming years.

Prior to coming to R-MWC, Bowman held a number of other positions within higher education institutions, government and private foundations.

Commencement weekend activities include the traditional Daisy Chain between sophomores and seniors, a garden party for seniors at the President’s home, and a Baccalaureate ceremony.

The Baccalaureate, scheduled for May 13 in Houston Memorial Chapel, is free and open to the public. Services will be held at 2 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 14 in the Dell. This event is free, open to the public, and does not require a ticket. In the event of rain, the ceremony will move to Smith Hall Theatre. Overflow seating will be available in Smith Banquet Hall where guests may watch Commencement via monitors.

A buffet lunch will be served in Cheatham Dinning Hall after Commencement. Tickets may be purchased at the door: $9.00 ($5.00 for children ages 4 to 10).

For a full schedule of events, please see

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations