Abigail Riley Graduates From Lebanon Valley College

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Abigail Riley

MADISON — Abigail Riley is one of nearly 470 students who celebrated their academic success and achievements during Lebanon Valley College’s 150th Commencement Saturday, May 11, in Louis A. Sorrentino Gymnasium.

Abigail Riley

Riley received a bachelor of science in psychology. Riley graduated with the following honor(s): Cum Laude. Riley is a graduate of Madison High School.

Dr. Chris Dolan, chair of history, politics, and global studies and professor of politics and global studies, delivered the Commencement address. Dolan inspired graduates to commit to serving and improving their future communities, invoking Franklin Roosevelt and the four individual freedoms.

“I encourage you to get involved and build stronger, healthier, more inclusive and sustainable communities from the bottom up,” said Dolan. “The best way for the United States to set a good example to the world is for Americans to set a good example to one another right here at home. Remember you are more than just an employee or a consumer. You are a citizen, so live your life in service to others and use what you know for the public good.”

Along with celebrating graduates, LVC announced the winners of several major annual awards.

The top student award, the H. Anthony Neidig Award, was presented to Kevin Beaver of Harrisburg, Pa., who graduated with a near 4.0 GPA with a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology and a B.S. in environmental science. Beaver made an academic impact before his freshman year began, participating in Research First and soon earning the Freshman Chemistry Award. Through two National Science Foundation grants, he conducted summer research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Utah. Beaver presented at seven conferences, including in Maryland, North Carolina, and Utah, and co-authored two research publications, with another manuscript in progress.

Beaver’s academic prowess is matched by his athletic talents. He led the men’s lacrosse team in goals and scoring the past two seasons, and was named Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a MAC Commonwealth All-Conference Second Team member.

Beaver will attend the University of Utah to continue his research and pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Also during Commencement, the College announced Dr. Robert Machado, interim chair and assistant professor of English, as the recipient of this year’s Vickroy Award, the top honor for a full-time faculty member. Numerous letters spoke of Machado’s passion for helping students achieve more than they thought possible. One student said, “He is the kind of professor every student dreams of having when they go to college.”

Along with teaching, Machado has presented at the annual Symposium on Inclusive Excellence, VALE Music Conference, and at First-Year Experience Professional Development Seminars. He has served on the College’s retention committee for five years. An LVC faculty member said, “I have found no limit to the time or energy he will devote to helping his students find their passions; regardless of their major or career path. He finds what makes each student blossom.”

The second teaching award presented at Commencement was the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award, annually bestowed on a part-time or adjunct member of the College faculty. Beverly Butts, adjunct assistant professor in music (clarinet), received this year’s honor. Butts, an LVC alumna, directs the College’s Clarinet Choir, Saxophone Ensemble, and Woodwind Quintet. One of her students praised her forward-thinking teaching style blending traditional techniques while continuing to keep pace with current trends.

Along with teaching, Butts has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and with the Hershey and York symphonies, as well as the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. She spent 20 years as the principal clarinetist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. She was a finalist for the Queens Philharmonic Competition and a semi-finalist in the Walter W. Naumberg Clarinet Competition.

As part of Commencement, Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, LVC president, awarded honorary degrees to three individuals. The honorees include a trombonist for five U.S. Presidential inaugurations, a philanthropist who has served on more than 30 charitable and cultural boards, and a doctor who has made significant strides combating the opioid epidemic and advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ population. The 2019 honorees were:

James A. Erdman II, a 35-year member of the LVC music faculty and founder of the nation’s first trombone quartet-in-residence at LVC, will receive the Honorary Doctorate in Music (D.Mus.).

William Lehr Jr., Esq., community philanthropist, corporate leader, and former two-term chair of LVC’s Board of Trustees, will receive the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters (L.H.D.).

Dr. Rachel L. Levine, Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, will receive the Honorary Doctorate in Science (Sc.D.).

Lebanon Valley College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts and humanities, business and communications, education, health professions, social sciences and psychology, and science, technology, engineering, and math. Advanced health professions degrees include a master of athletic training, master of counseling psychology (fall 2020), master of speech-language pathology, and a doctor of physical therapy. Online and graduate programs include an MBA with six concentrations and a general option offered on-campus or partially or fully online, a Master of Science in STEM Education, an Integrative STEM Education Certificate, a Master in Music Education, and a Modern Band Certificate. In 2018, the College was listed as #1 in the country for graduate job placement by the career guidance site Zippia.com, using federal data. The 357-acre campus is in Annville, Pa.