Bridgewater College graduates largest class in 136-year history

bridgewater collegeBridgewater College graduated 417 seniors on Saturday, May 14 – the largest class in the history of the 136-year-old college. The degrees were conferred by Bridgewater College President David W. Bushman.

Receiving the President’s Medal at the ceremony were Dr. Julia C. Morton, associate professor of world languages and cultures, Dr. Paul J. Bender, professor of mathematics and Dr. Mary Frances Heishman, professor of health and human sciences, all three of whom are retiring.

An honorary degree was presented to the ceremony’s keynote speaker, the Hon. G. Steven Agee, who is a justice on the United States Court of Appeals and a 1974 Bridgewater alumnus. Agee’s address focused on “The Gift of Critical Thinking.”

Agee was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by President George W. Bush, unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and took office July 1, 2008.

Following his graduation from Bridgewater, Agee received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977. In 1978, Agee received his L.L.M. (in Taxation) from the New York University School of Law.

Agee was in the private practice of law in Roanoke, Va., from 1977 to 2000 and a partner in the law firm of Osterhoudt, Ferguson, Natt, Aheron & Agee, P.C. from 1981 to 2000. From 1982 to 1994, he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He served on the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission from 1996 to 2000 and in the Judge Advocate Generals Corps, United States Army Reserve, from 1986 to 1997.

Agee was elected by the General Assembly of Virginia to the Court of Appeals of Virginia in 2000 and served as a judge of that court from 2001 to 2003. In 2003, he was elected by the General Assembly of Virginia to the Supreme Court of Virginia and served as a justice of that court from 2003 to 2008 until his confirmation to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Agee is a member of the board of trustees of Bridgewater College.

Among the 417 students in the Class of 2016, 107 earned bachelor of arts degrees and 279 earned bachelor of science degrees.

Fifteen members of the class graduated summa cum laude – the top academic honor which requires students to achieve at least a 3.9 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Thirty-nine graduates earned magna cum laude honors – a 3.7 or better average. Cum laude honors, requiring a 3.4 grade point average, were earned by 64 graduates.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.


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