Two years after their own graduation from Mary Baldwin University, members of the Class of 2011 are leaving their mark. Their class gift, an ornate walnut lectern, will debut Sunday at the college’s 171st Commencement.
“We wanted the gift to be something that would be used and remembered for years to come … something that would be special and had never been done before,” said Candace Klementowicz, president of the Class of 2011.
Taylor & Boody Organbuilders of Swoope — which also created the mace and baton carried by faculty marshals at Commencement — designed and crafted the ceremonial lectern. Central to the design is the superbly detailed college seal, which is framed by panels decorated with relief carvings of walnut branches, leaves, and nuts. The stand is anchored on each side by columns that echo the architecture of Mary Baldwin’s historic campus. A life-sized squirrel at the base of one column nods to the college mascot.
Margaret Churchman Moffett ’47 donated black walnut lumber from her family farm in Augusta County to construct the lectern.
Klementowicz and her classmates discussed several ideas in meetings and through email surveys. The students eventually leaned toward the idea of producing a commemorative lectern after hearing Director of Facilities Brent Douglass describe a similar gift at Dartmouth College, his alma mater.
“I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished lectern since we discussed the idea for the first time in January 2011,” Klementowicz said. “I just kept reminding myself that good things come to those who wait. It is beautiful piece of art that could be used for the Boldly Baldwin women that will be attending Mary Baldwin University for many years to come.”
Klementowicz plans to return to Mary Baldwin for the Commencement ceremony.
“Being invited back by President Fox is a true honor,” she said. “I immediately knew I had to be there to see the completed lectern and to see it being shared with my fellow, soon-to-be alumnae. To have our gift be a part of the Commencement ceremony for many years to come is just a wonderful way to share our love and appreciation for Mary Baldwin University.”
Photos courtesy of Brent Douglass.