ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - From Bob Dylan to John Mayer, St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) commencement speaker Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD, 5th) bridged generations to address the graduates Saturday, May 12. Hoyer, House Majority Leader and Southern Maryland resident, congratulated 437 graduates and their families during the morning ceremony.
Hoyer's speech was full of pop-culture references and song lyrics. He said, "I am amazed at the capacity of lyricists - across the generations - to articulate the verities of life, to provide relevant social commentary, to educate and to inspire action." Jane Margaret O'Brien, president of the College, referred to Hoyer's speech as, "a rousing call to service and civic engagement."
Congratulating the students on their graduation, Hoyer said, "You will forget my words and perhaps my name, but you will not forget what you have done here." In keeping with the lyrical references, Hoyer summed up his address with words from a popular country song by Leann Womack, "'Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me that you'll give fate the fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.'
We wish you well as you pass from today's this to tomorrow's that. I hope you dance!"
The SMCM co-valedictorians were Melissa Jean Pumphrey (Annapolis, MD) and Katherine Lavery Meyers (Towson, MD). Pumphrey delivered the address, congratulating fellow graduates, as well as thanking faculty and staff for providing them with an environment that was so conducive to learning. In closing, Pumphrey said, "Let's go out like we came in, with ambitious goals, a sense of optimism, and an open mind."
During the ceremony, Hoyer was read a poem written in his honor by Maryland's poet laureate and SMCM professor Michael Glaser. Hoyer is serving his 14th term as a representative of Maryland's Fifth Congressional District. Hoyer serves as the senior member of Maryland's U.S. House Delegation and as House Majority Leader in the 110th Congress. Hoyer also serves on the St. Mary's College Board of Trustees. In 1963, he graduated from the University of Maryland as "Outstanding Male Graduate" and then pursued a degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1966.