Undergraduate commencement exercises feature address by Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart and baccalaureate sermon by Robert W. Patin, Jr.
Muskingum College held its undergraduate commencement exercises on May 5, featuring an address by Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. The baccalaureate sermon was delivered by Robert W. Patin, Jr., a college alumnus and member of its Board of Trustees, who is the retired chief executive officer of CNA Life and the CNA Healthcare and Benefits Division of CNA Financial Corporation Both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees were conferred.
In recognition of his lifetime of achievement, the college bestowed upon Lockhart an honorary doctor of music degree. Patin’s professional and personal achievements were recognized with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Lockhart is one of the world’s premiere conductors, who delights audiences with his outstanding artistry and versatility of musical styles, communicating his musical vision to listeners from all walks of life.
Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Lockhart began his musical studies at age seven with piano lessons. He earned a bachelor of music degree in piano and a bachelor’s degree in German, both summa cum laude, from Furman University in 1981. In 1983, he earned his master of fine arts in orchestral conducting from Carnegie Mellon University.
In February 1995, Lockhart was named conductor of the Boston Pops. In the past twelve seasons with the Pops, he has conducted more than 900 concerts, led 28 national tours and four international tours, and recorded ten albums and more than 60 nationally-televised programs. Since 1998, he has also served as music director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra. An active guest conductor, he has led many symphony, chamber and opera orchestras at home and abroad.
He has entertained at legendary venues, including Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl – marking the first time an orchestra was featured in Super Bowl entertainment.
In 2006, Lockhart was named artistic advisor of the prestigious Brevard Music Center, adding a new dimension to his dedicated efforts in developing future generations of musicians and music lovers.
Lockhart is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Most recently, he received the Bob Hope Patriot Award from the president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, in recognition of his annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concerts and their role as a signature national event for our country’s Independence Day celebrations.
Lockhart is the son of Newton Lockhart and 1956 Muskingum College alumna Marilyn Woodyard Lockhart, both of whom were in attendance.
In his commencement address, Lockhart told the graduates, “While commencement is the end of this, it is really the beginning of everything. What you have done here is learn to learn. Live as though you will die tomorrow, learn as though you will live forever. Let today be the commencement of something wonderful.”
A highlight of the day’s events came when Lockhart directed members of the college’s Beta Lambda Chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity in the singing of the Muskingum College alma mater and other selections. The Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is a national music honorary fraternity, of which Lockhart was a member as a student at Furman University.
In her remarks to the graduating class, Dr. Steele said, “Today is your day. You have worked hard, with outstanding dedication. Your education here will be your cornerstone, shaping your lives and the lives of others.”
Steven M. Wright ’07 was chosen by his peers to represent the class of 2007. The charges to the class were presented by Dr. Jerry Martin, professor of speech communication and theatre; and Harold W. Burlingame, alumnus and chair of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Steele also recognized the retirement of Campus Minister Jerry Beavers, Professor of Spanish Dr. Russell Brown and Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Russell Smucker.
The baccalaureate service was held at 10:00 a.m. Patin’s sermon, titled “Aristotle Must Have Been a Muskie,” centered on the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher as they apply to life in the modern world. He told the students, “Happiness comes from being whole. It’s not philosophy that teaches life, it’s life that teaches philosophy. The most powerful force in life is love, in the form of selfless promotion of the common good. I invite you to impact the world for the good, with your spirituality and your love.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Patin earned his bachelor of arts from Muskingum in 1964 and began his career with Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. Over the course of his career in the insurance industry, he has served as president of Puritan Life Insurance Company, president of Insurance Operations for GE Capital Corporation, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Washington National Corporation, and president and chief executive officer of the CNA Life and Group Operations of the CNA Insurance Companies.
As the president and chief operating officer of Big Idea Productions, the creators of the internationally-acclaimed Veggie Tales, he demonstrated his commitment to the development of the moral character of our youth, nurturing the important principles of moral leadership.
A dedicated Muskingum supporter, Patin has served the college as a member of the Board of Trustees for more than twelve years. He is also a member of the Executive Committee and co-chair of “The Long Magenta Line: The Campaign for Muskingum.”
Patin has actively devoted his time, energy and expertise to numerous civic, health and educational organizations, including the Board of Advisors of the Kellogg Graduate School of Northwestern University, the Board of Trustees of Junior Achievement of Chicago and as a co-founder of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hartford.
Alicia D. Seng ’07 read the scripture for baccalaureate and Marie E. Mavis ’07 led the Collect.