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Commencement Speakers Encourage Students to Stay Inventive, Imaginative

Laurie Anderson and Mary Miss '68 spoke to Undergraduate and Graduate Classes of 2013, respectively

Posted 05.20.13 by MICA communications

Students get ready to graduate at MICA's 2013 Commencement.

BALTIMORE—More than 580 students received degrees and certificates at the College's 164th Commencement, which included the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, on Monday, May 20 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

At the Undergraduate Commencement, thunderous applause erupted when President Fred Lazarus IV took the podium during opening remarks. He told the graduating seniors they have "contributed to making this one of the best art colleges in the world," and that "even the best can get better"—both in reference to the College and the talented artists and designers of the Class of 2013.

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker Laurie AndersonSpeaker Laurie Anderson—introduced by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Ray Allen as a "renaissance woman"—told the Class of 2013 that "this is the best time by far in the history of this country to be an artist" because the world is now ready for new ideas and "adventurous thinking." "Art is genuinely becoming more integrated into the culture and not some rarified thing that artists do over there in the gallery section of town," she said.

Anderson provided tips to the graduating class, such as:

  • "Don't wait for people to ask you what to do. You will wait forever. Just invent and define what you want to do and then find a way to do it. You'd be surprised how well this works."
  • "Make sure to keep it loose. Don't make too many plans. Leave room for that weird phone call invitation, the person you meet who can change your direction."
  • and "Next time you find yourself stuck and bogged down try this--try to make your very worst work. This is a great exercise and at the very least you'll probably make something that has a lot of energy as well as learn some things about the rules you have. And it may turn out to be your best work."

Anderson closed with, "...so I wish you all the joy that life can give as you begin your lives as artists." Anderson, a performance artist, writer, director, visual artist and musician, received an Honorary Degree of Fine Arts at the Commencement.

John MacLean '13 and Thomas Doyle '13 made humorous student remarksJohn MacLean '13 and Thomas Doyle '13 made humorous student remarks, providing a whimsical rhyme to their fellow classmates about their journey "into the blue yonder." They finished their well wishes with, "onwards and upwards to the Class of 2013."

Timothy D. Armbruster, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Goldseker Foundation, received an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters for his thoughtful leadership in redevelopment efforts of Baltimore and his longtime partnership with MICA. Armbruster commended MICA for growing over the decades from a "reputable regional art college" to one of "international reach."

Celebrity photographer, illustrator, director and producer Derek Blanks '00 (illustration) received the Alumni Award. Photography and printmaking faculty member Laurie Snyder received a standing ovation when she received MICA's Medal of Honor, as did environmental design faculty member John Wilson '68 '85 (interior design, Interior Design), when he was introduced to receive the Medal of Honor wearing a kilt.

At Graduate Commencement, President Lazarus applauded the graduates, telling them "Baltimore is a better city because of what you've done." He also told students the thesis work and programs they developed are their "best testaments" to their progress as students, and that MICA "looks forward to hearing about [their] careers as alums."

Mary Miss '68 makes remarks at Graduate Commencement.Speaker Mary Miss '68 (Rinehart School of Sculpture), an artist who recently launched a project to transform Broadway into the new "green corridor" of New York City, said, "I'm overwhelmed with how [Baltimore] has embraced the arts... it's a reminder of the importance of the arts in people's lives."

Miss, who received the Alumni Award at the ceremony, also talked about her work and progression as an artist. She advised students to always continue to use their imagination. "I just want you to take yourselves as seriously as you can," she said.

Graduate Commencement Speaker Deana Haggag '13Student Deana Haggag '13 (Curatorial Practice) addressed her peers with both humor and gratitude, telling them, "I learned more than I ever asked for from my classmates." 

Ellen Dissanayake, an independent scholar and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington whose work focuses on the anthropological exploration of art and culture, received an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters. Doreen Bolger, the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art since 1998, teared up as she received an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters. Frances Barth, retiring Director of the Mount Royal School of Art, received MICA's most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor.

At the conclusion of each ceremony, a representative from the Alumni Council — David Inscore '95 (illustration) and Rachel Beth Egenhoefer '02 (fiber), respectively — welcomed MICA's newest alumni.


SEE: Additional images from 2013 Commencement.


Image captions (top to bottom): Students get ready to graduate at MICA's 2013 Commencement; Undergraduate Commencement speaker Laurie Anderson; Undergraduate Commencement student speakers John MacLean '13 and Thomas Doyle '13; Graduate Commencement speaker Mary Miss '68 (Rinehart School of Sculpture); and Graduate Commencement student speaker Deana Haggag '13.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

This page was last updated on 04/09/2018.