Commencement exercises feature address by Desiree Caldwell, executive director of the Concord Museum, with baccalaureate sermon by Dr. Robert M. Warner, sixth archivist of the United States
At Muskingum College's commencement held May 6, 307 students received their undergraduate degrees and heard Desiree Caldwell deliver the commencement address, titled Learning for a Lifetime.
The college conferred an honorary doctor of humane letters to Ms. Caldwell in recognition of her life’s work and achievements.
As executive director of the Concord Museum since 1996, Ms. Caldwell oversees the 120-year old home of one of the oldest and best-documented collections of Americana. The 1775 Paul Revere Lantern, the desk where Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden and Civil Disobedience, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study are a few of the treasures that educate visitors from around the world. During her tenure, she has doubled the museum’s operating budget, tripled its endowments, and acquired more than 300 additional objects for the collection.
She also worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where her exhibition credits include Monet in the 90s – one of the most successful and well-attended events in the institution’s history – and retrospectives of da Vinci, Goya, Rubens, Ansel Adams, Impressionism, Andean Textiles, and Japanese Painting. She developed extensive Japanese partnerships and helped create the joint Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Nagoya, Japan.
She earned her bachelor of arts from Brown University, her master of arts from the University of Delaware, and her master of business administration from Harvard University. Her early career encompassed curatorial work at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and financial auditing and marketing with Coopers & Lybrand and the Gillette Company.
Ms. Caldwell’s civic contributions are wide ranging, through her service as a trustee and board member of organizations such as Historic New England, Thoreau Farm Trust, Concord Chamber Music Society, Concord Chamber of Commerce and Town of Concord Tourism Committee, Antiquities America.Com, and the Society of Winterthur Fellows.
In her remarks to the graduating class, Muskingum College President Anne C. Steele said, “Today is your day. You have worked hard, with dedication and purpose. You follow extraordinary alumni, and now become a part of the great legacy of Muskingum College.”
In her address, Ms. Caldwell told the graduates and those assembled, “To be truly alive is to be a life-long learner. Throughout your lives, learn from your past, your observations and intuition, and from the world around you. The journey of your life is much more important than your ultimate destination."
Alainna M. Amicone ’06 was chosen by her fellow students to represent the graduating class. The charges to the graduating class were presented by Associate Professor of Business Dr. Gary E. Golden and Harold W. Burlingame, alumnus and chair of the Board of Trustees.
Also during the service, President Steele recognized the retirement of Professor of Physical and Health Education and former head men’s basketball coach Dr. James Burson Dr. Burson joined the faculty at the college in 1964, after earning his bachelor’s degree at Muskingum, and then earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University.
The baccalaureate service was held at 10:00 a.m. Dr. Robert M. Warner, a 1949 alumnus of the college and former archivist of the United States, delivered the sermon, titled Life More Abundant. In it, he referred to an inscription that appears on the exterior of the National Archive he headed – “The past is prologue to the future.” He told the graduates, "Your life at Muskingum has given you a life more abundant – just as it says in the alma mater. Your four years here are but a prologue of the rest of your life. Today is the beginning of what you will do, not the end of what you’ve done.”
From 1980-1985, Dr. Warner served as the Sixth Archivist of the United States – the guardian of such national treasures as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. His efforts to ensure that the Archives operate freely from partisan concerns culminated with Congress’ creation of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in 1984. In 2005, he was honored with the naming of NARA’s Robert M. Warner Research Center on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Warner has a distinguished legacy of leadership and public service, as an educator and archivist charged with preserving our nation’s documentary heritage.
Following his graduation from Muskingum, Dr. Warner went on to earn his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Michigan.
His academic career at the University of Michigan has encompassed posts as Professor of History, Professor of Library Science, Director of the Michigan Historical Collections, Dean of the School of Information, and currently Dean Emeritus and University Historian. He brought the Michigan Historical Collections to national prominence by securing the papers of United States President Gerald R. Ford and overseeing the creation of the Ford Presidential Library.
Dr. Warner’s national role in shaping the emerging archival profession included service as a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Library Science at Case Western Reserve University, the Board of Visitors at the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University, and the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
He holds honorary doctorates from Muskingum College, Westminster College, and DePaul University. In 1990, he received the Muskingum College Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Marc E. Davis ’06 read the scripture for baccalaureate and Jessica C. Labs’06 led Collect.