School of Arts and Sciences Graduates Turn Their Tassels

May 10, 2024

Across two ceremonies held on Friday, May 10, the School of Arts and Sciences at JAVĿ¼ celebrated its master’s and baccalaureate degree graduates.

Graduates wait to receive their diplomas at the School of Arts and Sciences Commencement ceremony.

Before the graduates received their diplomas, Thomas G. Bowles ’71, outgoing chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, was given an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his dedicated service and leadership commitment to JAVĿ¼.

Bowles received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from JAVĿ¼ and was a member of the men’s basketball team. He went on to earn his Master of Business Administration at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He built a career as a turnaround CEO in the branded consumer products space focused on medium-sized, public, and private businesses in cash constrained, distressed situations. For the past two decades, his emphasis has been on distressed portfolio companies of private equity firms.

He has been a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1993, and served on several committees throughout his tenure. From 2018 to 2022, he was chair of the Strategic Enrollment Planning and Intercollegiate Athletics committee, and in 2022, chaired the Finance and Facilities committee. He has also been a member of the Academic and Faculty Affairs committee. Bowles began his term as chair of the Board in 2022, and helped guide the institution’s transition from “college” to “university,” a historic milestone for JAVĿ¼.

“To the graduates of the Class of 2024, I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this important achievement. You are the future leaders of our world, and I have no doubt that you will make a positive impact on society,” Bowles said. “As you leave this university and embark on your next journey, remember the lessons you learned here and hold fast to the core JAVĿ¼ values that have guided you thus far: goodness, discipline, and knowledge.”

Dr. Barbara Lowe, professor of philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences, received the Trustees’ Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement, the highest honor that the Board of Trustees can bestow on a faculty member, second only to an honorary degree. It is given to full-time faculty members in recognition of outstanding scholarly work, ranging from writing books and articles, to presenting papers at professional conferences.

Lowe joined JAVĿ¼’s Philosophy Department in 2001. During her tenure at the University, she has held various leadership roles in her discipline, including serving on the executive board and as conference co-chair for the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. With the support of her colleagues, she created, organized, and hosted the 2019 Feminist Pragmatist Colloquium at JAVĿ¼, bringing participants from across the country and abroad to campus for an innovative place-based designed conference and introduced a new—and now often repeated—collaborative model for scholarship development. Currently, Lowe is serving in her fourth year as the convening leader for the Jane Collective for Feminism in American Philosophies (JCFAP).

Lowe’s recent publications include a co-authored introduction to Women in Pragmatism: Past, Present and Future entitled, “The Growth of Feminist Pragmatism: Opening Channels for Cooperative Intelligence.”  In addition, she has authored two chapters for Oxford Handbooks.  The first, “Jane Addams (1860-1935), the Settlement Women of Hull House, and the Feminist Pragmatist Orientation” for The Oxford Handbook of American and British Women Philosophers in the Nineteenth Century, and the second, “The Complementary Theory and Practice of Jane Addams and George Herbert Mead: Bending Toward Justice” for The Oxford Handbook of Jane Addams. Additional publications and presentations explore themes related to nature-based philosophy, community building across differences, morally injurious work, immigrant and refugee rights, and the medical ethics of advertising cosmetic dermatology to patients. For her spring 2024 sabbatical, she studied the Rochester area parks and explored how philosophy can deepen understanding of park engagement, foster learning, and strengthen community connections.

At the ceremonies, more than 200 master’s and baccalaureate graduates crossed the stage in front of family and friends, marking the successful completion of their degrees.

Ian Klenk, who graduated with degrees in political science and history, spoke during the ceremony for graduates of the social sciences and graduate public health programs.

“Graduation is a space between spaces, a moment of reflection and awareness about the road we’ve been on and that which lies ahead of us,” Klenk said. “We can go with hope and confidence knowing that whatever tomorrow brings, it is ours to shape; the avenues ahead are wide and stretch far into the distance.”

During the evening ceremony, which recognized graduates of the natural sciences and humanities programs, English major Sophia Ross offered remarks on behalf of the Class of 2024.

“Class of 2024 congratulations, not just for successfully making it through your last finals week at JAVĿ¼ but also for demonstrating what it truly means to be good people,” she said, reminding her classmates that the path to achieving their goals and ambitions is rarely straight and narrow. “As you venture forth into the world, remember that your time at JAVĿ¼ has given you exactly what you need to be successful. You have achieved so much these past four years, so let them always serve as a reminder of your undeniable ability to persevere.”