Convocation Will Honor Marine General James Mattis
Location: Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Retired Marine Corps General James N. Mattis will be the featured honoree when Washington College gathers Friday afternoon, February 21, for its annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation. General Mattis, who most recently served as Commander of the U.S. Central Command, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
The College also will bestow its President’s Medal on a local character-education program, Character Counts!, and a businessman and civic leader who is its staunchest champion, Richard Goodall. In addition, it will recognize the accomplishments of two distinguished alumni, thank dedicated employees for their service, and welcome a select group of students into the nation’s oldest academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
The convocation ceremony is scheduled to take place in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, at 3:30 p.m. Immediately afterward, the Theta of Maryland chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will host a reception in the Underwood Lobby outside Decker Theatre, with wine and appetizers donated by Chartwells, the corporation that operates food services on campus, and music provided by the Washington College Jazz Combo. Both the convocation and the reception are free and open to the public.
A revered “Marine’s Marine” known for his bluntness, humor, intellect, and appetite for books, James N. Mattis retired from military life last May after 41 years of service. He began his career as a second lieutenant fresh out of the ROTC program at Central Washington University and ended it as a four-star general responsible for military operations involving more than 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines in Afghanistan, Iraq and 18 other countries in the Middle East and Asia. In between, he held major commands that included the 1st Marine Division that invaded Iraq in 2003, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the First Marine Expeditionary Force, the U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. An expert on military strategy and national security issues, in 2006 he coauthored, with General David Petraeus, the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency manual.
The Washington College President’s Medal is presented each year to an individual or organization that has made a sustained positive contribution to the quality of life in the region. This year it honors Goodall, chief executive officer of global manufacturer Dixon Valve and Coupling Company, for his steadfast commitment to education and young people.
Dick Goodall has earned a reputation as a civic and business leader who “walks the talk” by committing personal and corporate time and support to bettering the community. He was instrumental in establishing the Character Counts! program in Kent County schools some 14 years ago and continues to serve on its board. He also still visits Garnett Elementary School as a “character coach” himself, and encourages other Dixon Valve employees to participate. Goodall served for four years on the Maryland State Board of Education, 2005-2009, and forged meaningful connections with then-Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and other top education policymakers. More recently, he spearheaded the creation of Kent Forward, a community initiative to support the local school system’s drive for excellence. He has contributed countless hours to rallying community interest and support for the schools through Kent Forward, which he began shaping in 2012 with the county’s other top employers, Washington College and University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. He also co-chairs the education committee of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce. The most recent testament to Goodall’s commitment to local schools was a $48,687 gift from Dixon Valve to help replace outdated math books in three elementary grades.
A separate 2014 President’s Medal will go to the local Character Counts! program, itself. Character Counts! sends 130 coaches (including 34 Dixon Valve employees and 20 Washington College students or staff) into Kent County classrooms each week to teach the importance of its “Six Pillars of Character”: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. They connect with some 1,700 students, from pre-kindergarten through 9th grade, and become role models for building a successful life.
The Washington College Alumni Association this year honors two men who have distinguished themselves in their careers and in their contributions to their alma mater, John A. Conkling ’65 and Peter Maller ’90. Both will receive an Alumni Service Award.
Conkling, professor of chemistry emeritus at the College, is a pyrotechnics expert of international renown. As an alumnus, he has planned reunions, raised funds, and donated fabulous fireworks displays for the opening of the school year and other campus events. He also served six years as an alumni representative to the Board of Visitors and Governors.
Maller, an award-winning wealth advisor, has served his alma mater as a member of the President’s Leadership Council, the Hillel Campaign Committee, the Sho’men Club Committee, the Planned Giving Advisory Board, the Baltimore Alumni Chapter Steering Committee, and his class’s 30th Reunion Committee.
Four College employees will receive Distinguished Service awards for outstanding contributions to the campus community: Patrice DiQuinzio, associate provost for academic affairs; Robin A. Locke, the Dining Services cook who runs the popular “My Pantry” station; Thaddeus L. Moore, head athletic trainer and associate athletic director; and John L. Seidel, Lammot duPont Copeland Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies and director of the Center for Environment & Society.