Commencement at UMES to include honorary degrees

Testing, vaccination and mask requirements still in place

Posted 5/17/22

PRINCESS ANNE — Distinguished alumna Starletta DuPois and international human rights crusader Samantha Power will be celebrated May 20 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s spring …

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Commencement at UMES to include honorary degrees

Testing, vaccination and mask requirements still in place

Posted

PRINCESS ANNE — Distinguished alumna Starletta DuPois and international human rights crusader Samantha Power will be celebrated May 20 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s spring graduation exercises.

Power, who serves as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s administrator, has accepted an invitation to deliver the commencement address. DuPois will receive an honorary degree.

Starletta Earla Maria Seawell of Philadelphia came to then-Maryland State College in the mid-1960s thinking she would go into nursing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, but as they say in show business, she also was bitten by the acting bug as a student thespian.

Better known to stage, film and TV audiences as Starletta DuPois, the 1968 alumna forged a successful career as an award-winning actress who performed with some of America’s best-known artists.

Although she calls California home, over the years DuPois has routinely returned to campus for important social functions and to serve as an occasional guest lecturer.

Power, who was born in Ireland, forged a notable career as a war correspondent, an Ivy League educator and more recently as an ambassador forcefully championing human rights around the world.

She was a special assistant to former President Barack Obama as one of his national security advisers and in his second term, served as United Nations’ ambassador.

The author of a number of public policy books, Power won a Pulitizer Prize in 2003 for A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.

She returned to public service at the urging of President Joe Biden, who picked her to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development — frequently referred to by its better-known shorthand name, USAID — the world’s premier international development agency.

UMES has had a decades-long relationship with the federal agency, especially on the African continent where the university assists nations with economic development and agriculture productivity challenges.

Hotelier Ben Seidel, founder, president and CEO of Maryland-based Real Hospitality Group, and his wife, Alma, the company’s human resources vice president, will also receive honorary degrees.

Commencement exercises at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center will not be free of constraints from COVID-19 as all graduating seniors are required to participate in mandatory COVID testing on campus May 19.

Audience attendance will be limited to four tickets per graduates, and guests must submit a COVID vaccine card prior to obtaining a ticket. They will also be required to wear a mask while indoors. Faculty attendance will be limited.