The Advantages of "I Don't Know": 500 Graduate from LVC

Celebration of academic success and achievement during Lebanon Valley College's 149th Commencement

Related Media

ANNVILLE, PA (05/12/2018) Nearly 500 students celebrated their academic success and achievements during Lebanon Valley College's 149th Commencement Saturday, May 12, in Louis A. Sorrentino Gymnasium.

View photos from this year's Commencement exercises.

The Ceremony began with a special presentation of the College's highest honor, the Founders Medal, to Wesley Dellinger '75, P'05. Dellinger retired last week after serving 30 years on the College's Board of Trustees, including the past six as chair. His family connections to LVC extend back more than a century to his great-grandfather, Dr. James T. Spangler, Class of 1890.

Dr. Robert Carey, associate professor of biology, delivered the Commencement address. He encouraged graduates to admit that they don't know everything. In fact, saying "I Don't Know" can lead to great success and achievement.

"I realized that 'not knowing' is a very important part of navigating our lives," said Dr. Cary, who earned the privilege of speaking after receiving the Thomas Rhys Vickroy Distinguished Teaching Award at last year's Commencement. Dr. Cary highlighted three advantages of saying "I don't know," which ultimately leads to the creation of new knowledge, scientific and artistic discovery, and business ideas.

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 Devendra Sanyasi of Blacklick, Ohio, who graduated with a B.S. in ACS chemistry and B.S. in biology. Sanyasi spent much of his early life in resettlement camps in Nepal as a Bhutanese refugee. He became an outstanding student at McCaskey High School in Lancaster and enrolled at LVC with fellow high school, and now college, classmate, Andres Vazquez-Lopez '18. Sanyasi graduated from Lebanon Valley College with an almost perfect G.P.A.

Sanyasi excelled academically at LVC and participated in student-faculty research. He was inducted into the national biological honor society, Beta Beta Beta, and national chemistry society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon. He also presented his research at conferences and served as a peer tutor and laboratory assistant, as well as a mentor and advisor to other international students. He plans to enter medical school to become a doctor and give back to other Nepali refugees and the broader community.

Also during Commencement, the College announced Dr. Chris Dolan, chair of history, politics, & global studies and professor of politics and global studies, as the recipient of this year's Vickroy Award, the top honor for a faculty member. For more than a decade, Dr. Dolan has taught his students to actively engage with and critically reflect on course material, and he has mentored students through independent study, collaborative research, and honors thesis projects.

Dr. Dolan created the College's Global Studies Program, helped expand study abroad participation, and enhanced the Maastricht, Netherlands, program with the addition of a human rights course. He is the author of the soon-to-be-published "Obama and the Emergence of a Multipolar World: Redefining U.S. Foreign Policy," and his editorials have been published worldwide, including "Holding Facebook Accountable."

Dr. Dolan's students and colleagues highlight the passion he brings to all areas of his work, noting that he is very engaging, can easily relate content to life, and facilitates discussion exceedingly well. They note that while his courses were easily the most difficult they had at LVC, Dr. Dolan taught the material so that it was fun, interesting, and relevant."

The final award presented at Commencement was the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award, which is bestowed on a part-time or adjunct member of the College faculty. Karen Rich Beall, adjunct instructor in sculpture and ceramics, was named this year's recipient. She has taught at the College for 15 years. Beall developed and implemented an advanced ceramics and sculpture studio. Her course evaluations typically score in the highest ratings, and students value the ways she engages with them in the learning process and how supportive she is with their work.

Her work, Seeds of Knowledge, is displayed in LVC's Allan W. Mund College Center.

During Commencement, Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, LVC president, awarded honorary degrees to four individuals who have made exceptional contributions to society and stand as exemplars of lifelong learning, inclusive excellence, and service to others. The 2018 honorees were:

Jan Loeffler Bergen, president and chief executive officer of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and Lancaster General Hospital, who received the Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.).

David R. Brigham, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, who received the Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.).

Francis Obai Kabia '73, former 25-year member of the United Nations Secretariat, who received the Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.).

Conrad Murray Siegel, founder and president of Conrad Siegel Actuaries, now Conrad Siegel, who received the Doctor of Science (Sc.D.).

At Baccalaureate on Friday evening, Jennifer Pierson Kuntz '03, assistant professor of education, received the Educator of the Year award. This honor is bestowed annually on a member of the full-time faculty who embodies the transformative power of the LVC experience, in and out of the classroom. The recipient is nominated and elected by the entire student body.

Video of the ceremony is available on the Lebanon Valley College YouTube channel.

Lebanon Valley College is a private, coeducational college founded in 1866 and dedicated to the liberal arts. The College offers 41 undergraduate majors plus self-designed majors and a range of minors, concentrations, and pre-professional options, as well as graduate degree programs in athletic training, business administration, music education, physical therapy, science in STEM education, and speech-language pathology.

The College has 1,624 full-time undergraduate students and 118 full-time faculty. Students can choose from more than 95 clubs and organizations, and 19 study abroad programs. LVC awards generous academic scholarships to those whose high school records demonstrate a commitment to challenge and achievement. Learn more at

Annville is 15 minutes east of Hershey and 35 minutes east of Harrisburg; Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are within two hours.