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McDaniel College celebrates 145th commencement

More than 600 graduate and undergraduate degrees were conferred Saturday at McDaniel College's 145th commencement ceremony.

Graduates ranging from 19 to 63 years old received a total of 358 bachelor's degrees and 329 master's degrees. Students represented 23 states and 15 countries.

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"It's about you," McDaniel President Roger Casey said. "You are McDaniel College."

Commencement speaker Victor McTeer echoed Casey's sentiment, telling students: "You are McDaniel. I am McDaniel. We are McDaniel. Welcome to the family."

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McTeer, a member of the college's class of 1969, was one of the first African-American graduates of the school. A civil rights attorney who worked on cases involving voting rights, and employment and housing discrimination, McTeer was awarded an honorary doctorate Saturday.

In his speech, McTeer shared the wisdom of his mentor, Ira G. Zepp Jr., a 1952 graduate of the school and a professor of religious studies. A posthumous doctorate was conferred upon Zepp, who died in 2009, at Saturday's commencement.

"Ira would say knowledge for knowledge's sake is not what education is about," McTeer said. "To know and not act is not to know."

McTeer recalled a conversation he had with Zepp after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968 when Zepp listened to McTeer's anger and frustration. Zepp asked McTeer what he was going to do about his anger.

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"I'm going to fight for my folk," was McTeer's response.

After graduating from the Rutgers School of Law, McTeer filed his first case on behalf of a young black woman denied a teaching job because she had a child out of wedlock as a teenager. McTeer argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court and won.

On Saturday, McTeer told the Class of 2015, "You are going to change the world."

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