Salisbury University’s fall commencement is Saturday

A Salisbury civic leader, an athletic trainer who has helped launch countless careers and one of Annapolis’ most respected legislators are honored alongside some 620 graduates during Salisbury University’s 89th-year Fall Commencement.

The ceremony is 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

The SU Alumni Association presents the Young Alumni Achievement Award to Wesley Cox. Earning his degree in business administration and information systems from SU in 2002, Cox is a senior advisor for Sperry Van Ness-Miller Commercial Real Estate.

Recently, he was named the Sperry Van Ness National Humanitarian of the Year, as well as the Wicomico Rotary Club’s Rotarian of the Year. He also received the Maryland Association of Realtor’s Community Service Award.

In addition, he serves on a number of local boards of directors, including the Lower Shore American Red Cross and Franklin P. Perdue School of Business Career Advisory Board, and is a past president of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

Pat Lamboni, the head athletic trainer at SU since 1982, receives the Alumni Leadership Award. Graduating from SU in 1978, Lamboni has mentored students and professionals for more than three decades, some of whom today serve the NFL, NHL and SEC Football.

A member of the Maryland Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, he also has been named the National Athletic Trainers Association’s Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer. On campus, he is a director of the Friends of Sea Gull Football Golf Tournament honoring late SU football coach Mike McGlinchey, with proceeds benefiting ALS research.

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio receives the Alumni Association’s Service to Society Award. Earning her degree in political science from SU in 1999, she was appointed to the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 37B (Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico counties), in 2003, winning re-election in 2006 and 2010.

During her time in the House, she served on committees representing economic matters, federal relations, legislative policy and insurance oversight. She also became known as a champion for the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.

In addition, the Alumni Association honors four SU faculty at Commencement with its annual Faculty Appreciation Awards. This year’s recipients are Drs. John Wenke of the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Fred Kundell of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, Karen Papke-Shields of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business and Ernie Bond of the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies.

The Commencement speaker is Kristen Loetz of Stevensville. She receives her B.S. in nursing, a field she chose because of her interest in helping children.

“I always knew I wanted to work with kids,” she said. “I thought about jobs I could do with that in mind.”

Memories of the friendly nurses from doctor’s visits as a child helped crystallize her decision. From that point, she considered just one school, applying only to Salisbury, which has the highest five-year average National Council Licensure Examination pass rate of all baccalaureate nursing programs in Maryland.

She was on track to graduate in four years when she was severely injured in an off-campus shooting her senior year.

During her months-long recovery, she got to see the “other side” of nursing as a patient. Her experience strengthened her passion for the profession, and she focused on learning from the tragedy, from observations at the emergency room, to rehabilitation, to the importance of speaking about her experience.

With support from SU and the Nursing Department, including its chair, Dr. Lisa Seldomridge, she missed only one semester before returning for her final year of classes.

She offered this message to her fellow graduates: “When you’re faced with obstacles — expected or unexpected — don’t let them stop you from achieving your dreams.”

After graduation, she hopes to work at a hospital in the Baltimore area.

Among undergraduates, 547 students receive the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts; 73 will receive master’s degrees.

Admission to Commencement is by ticket only. A reception at the Civic Center follows. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at

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