It was wonderful to see those of you who came and walked at commencement today. I hope I didn’t say anyone’s name too terribly wrong. Hey I empathize: my last name is Loots and most assume it rhymes with boots, or chutes, but it actually rhymes with boats, or coats, or totes. Anyway for all of you who earned the degree and were awarded it over the past school year, on behalf of all of the faculty in the program let me offer you our warmest congratulations. Not everyone makes it to the end of the program; many wander off along the way to the MA. It’s not an easy thing to earn. It takes time and resilience and dedication. Bravo to all of you who earned the degree this year. Whether you’re here in the area returning from commencement, or there in your home, which could be so many places in the country or world what with our wonderful global spread, I hope you’ll be good to yourself tonight and do something to celebrate. Indulge a little (or a lot!) if you can. You deserve it.
The M.A. program is pleased to announce both the creation of an annual “Mercy College Master of Arts in English Literature Thesis of the Year” award, and the first recipient of the award.
All thesis papers written for an ENGL 516 seminar during summer 2013, fall 2013, and spring 2014 were given consideration. From all of the outstanding papers written by our thesis students during that cycle a committee selected a group of papers which demonstrated an exemplary combination of (1) originality of research and approach, (2) effective writing and organization, and (3) clear and accurate MLA formatting. These papers then had all identifying information removed–student name, professor name, and course name–and were handed off without comment to an impartial faculty judge, a judge who had no student or stake in the proceedings. This judge then read the papers “blind” and informed the Program Head of the winner based upon the three criteria points listed above.
It is important to note how difficult a process this is for all involved, at each stage. Determining one winning entry from a stack of exceptional papers, top to bottom, all of which are commendable and reflect the high skill of writing and scholarship required to achieve the M.A. degree, is a challenge. And because this is literature, not mathematics, there is always room for debate about what sets one paper apart from another. We believe we have created as fair and neutral of a system for evaluation as we can; but as students of literature you of course know that the debate is never really over. This is all only to say that the faculty applaud all of our thesis students who have completed the thesis and have achieved the M.A. degree.
The winner of the 2014 Thesis of the Year award is Amy Warren for her paper “Romantic Marxism and the Psychology of Freedom in The Grapes of Wrath.” Congratulations, Amy. We will begin a new cycle of consideration starting this summer.
Hi, if you’re planning to walk at the 2014 graduate commencement ceremony please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating as much (and please let me know immediately, if you could). The Dean of Liberal Arts would like a head-count of how many if any students will be walking. Because we’re mostly a distance-learning program with students spread out across the country/globe we don’t always have attendees, but occasionally we do, so let me know if you plan to be there please. Thanks!