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Master’s degrees granted at graduate commencement exercises, with address by noted glass artist Paul J. Stankard

STANKARDMuskingum College held its graduate commencement exercises on Thursday, May 3, granting both master of arts in teaching and master of arts in education degrees.  The commencement address, “No Green Berries or Leaves,” was delivered by internationally renowned glass artist Paul J. Stankard. 

Muskingum College President Anne C. Steele congratulated the assembled graduates and said, “You have worked hard, with outstanding dedication, so you may educate others.  Through you, lives will be changed, and for that you have our deepest admiration.”

In his address, Stankard recounted the challenges faced in his life because of his dyslexia, and the importance of art and education in overcoming those challenges. He told the graduates, “You are the gifted and talented teachers [who] will tell students, especially those that are having difficulties, to never give up, because in the end they have to know that perseverance will help them be successful.” 

In recognition of his contributions to the fields of art and education, the college bestowed upon Stankard an honorary doctor of fine arts degree.  It was presented by Dr. Steele and Muskingum College alumnus and trustee Gordon Spillman.

CONFERRALA resolution from the college’s Board of Trustees, which granted the honorary degree, said, “Paul Joseph Stankard has, over his lifetime, earned worldwide recognition as one of the eminent glass artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.  He devotes his time and talents to supporting future generations of glass artists, teaching at studios across the nation and around the globe.”

Born in 1943 in Attleboro, Massachusetts, Stankard earned his diploma in scientific glass-blowing technology from Salem County Community College.  He began his career constructing precision glass instruments for the scientific research industry, while developing his art on his own time.  In 1972, he left industry to pursue art as his life’s work.

Today, Stankard’s paperweights and botanical sculptures reside in the permanent collections of the foremost American museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Internationally, his works are permanently displayed in leading museums in London, Paris, Scotland, Denmark, Japan and Taiwan.

Millions of readers have come to know his works through wide-ranging publications including “Time” magazine and “National Geographic,” numerous books including, “Masterpieces of Glass: A World History from the Corning Museum of Glass,” and “Paul J. Stankard: Homage to Nature” and media appearances on CBS’s “Martha Stewart Living” and HGTV’s “Modern Masters.”

Stankard is an active teacher at studios across the nation and around the world.  He is a founding member and former president of the Board of Trustees of the Creative Glass Center of America.

He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, most recently the “Artist as Hero Award” from the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia.

Candidates for their master’s degrees were presented by Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Paul Reichardt.  The degrees were conferred by President Steele, Gordon Spillman, Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies Ruthann Fagan and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for Teacher Education Vicki Wilson.

Marshals of the Day for the commencement exercise were Professor of Spanish Dr. Russell Brown and Professor of Education Dr. Steve Kokovich.  The graduate marshals were Adam C. Dollings and Alyssa Pagano. In the photos: Paul J. Stankard delivers the graduate commencement address in Brown Chapel, and Dr. Anne C. Steele presents his honorary doctor of fine arts degree.