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All photos by Thom Carroll

Moore’s 166th Commencement was held on Sunday, May 17, 2015 under a large tent in Aviator Park, across from the College.

This year, 94 undergraduates received Bachelor’s degrees in Art Education, Art History, Curatorial Studies, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design and Photography & Digital Arts during the ceremony.

Four students earned their Post-Baccalaureate degree in Art Education from Moore.

In her remarks, Academic Dean Dona Lantz reminded students that the word commencement means “a beginning,” even though their four years at Moore are ending.

“While we’re here today to celebrate and recognize your many accomplishments and achievements over the past four years, we are here as well to mark the beginning of your creative life as an artist, designer, educator, historian and curator,” she said. “It has been our privilege and pleasure to get to know you and to teach you these past years.”

Skye Bolluyt, an Illustration major with a minor in Graphic Design, was named the class valedictorian.

“We are stronger today than we were at the precipice of college, stronger and more resolute in our opinions, while at the same time more open to others’ interpretations thanks to professors’ critiques and conversations with peers from different upbringings and cultures,” she said. “We are stronger in our pursuit of our dream careers; even if we do not stick to the path in fine print on our diplomas. The dedication, confidence and passion we have cultivated within ourselves will launch us into the next phase, wherever that may be.”

Wydelah Campbell, a Graphic Design major, was awarded the Happy Fernandez Women’s Leadership Prize honoring the late Happy Fernandez, Moore’s seventh president. The $4,000 prize is presented to a graduating senior who participated in the college’s leadership programs.

Campbell, a full-time student and single mother, spoke about how her leadership experiences had a positive impact on her time at Moore and how she had progressed as a woman and a designer. She came to Moore with abandonment issues and a lack of self esteem. The summer before coming to Moore, her mother had been arrested and jailed for drugs and her younger sister had been taken into foster care. Campbell found a refuge through her involvement with Student Government.

“I honestly believe I wouldn’t have made it through college without the skills and relationships I gained through leadership,” she said. “I have been able to get where I am now because I decided to be a leader. I decided to move a mountain I did not even know I was capable of. I finally feel like I have a purpose and like someone with a voice that people actually want to hear.”

Moore presented the Marian Locks Endowed Award to Lydia Nobles, a Fine Arts major. The Locks Family Foundation has given $100,000 to Moore to endow the $4,000 award for a graduating senior as she launches her career. Marian Locks (1914-2010) founded one of the first galleries in Philadelphia devoted exclusively to contemporary art.

The inaugural Emerging Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Prize was awarded to Victoria Lattanzi, a Fine Arts major with a double minor in Business and Textile Design. The $4,000 competitive award, sponsored by Your Part-Time Controller and an anonymous donor, recognizes and celebrates the importance of business planning to successful careers in the arts through innovative thinking. Michelle Lockamy, an Illustration major, was the first runner-up and won $500 for her company, Michelle Lockamy Illustrations.

Susan Fisher Sterling, Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, was the commencement speaker. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the graduation ceremony.

In her speech, Sterling told students:  “Find the words that others use to describe you that ring true…words that help you see yourself critically as well as lovingly. Take that visualization and allow it to provide a path over time towards self-actualization in your work, your career and your life. You could very well end up being one of the most important voices for women in the arts.”

Learn more about Susan Fisher Sterling here.

Images from Commencement will be available to purchase from Thom Carroll,

Published on May 19th, 2015