For the first time in 29 years, candidates for graduation a Loyola College marched yesterday to "Pomp and Circumstance" without the watchful eyes of the Rev. Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J., measuring their steps.
But Loyola's late president and what he stood for were in evidence nevertheless during the college's 144th commencement and the granting of 714 diplomas to graduates yesterday at the Baltimore Arena.
Father Sellinger, who became president of the Jesuit school in 1964, died of cancer at the age of 72 in April just short of the fulfillment of his last wish, to see the 1993 class at Loyola graduate.
"Throughout the last year of his life, he was sustained by the hope he could survive to this commencement for this senior class," Thomas E. Scheye, provost and academic vice president of Loyola, told the audience.
Father Sellinger was honored posthumously with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, the school's highest award.
It was accepted by his brother, Frank.
The Rev. Edward Glynn, S.J., leader of the Jesuit order in Maryland, North Carolina, and part of New Jersey, also invoked Father Sellinger's memory during his commencement speech yesterday.
"We are here to celebrate and recognize the excellence of the individual and the institution," an attitude that Father Sellinger so heartily stood for, he said.
"Each of you must make a commitment to excellence. You have that responsibility," he said. "Father Sellinger responded positively to everything and every person he met. He is the
inspiration for building a better world, and Loyola is a testimony to his work."
During the Sellinger years, the Loyola campus expanded from 33 acres to nearly 70, from 11 buildings to 27, from an enrollment of 1,300 to 6,000.
Loyola joined the nearby College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1968 to build a larger library for both schools, and in 1971 Loyola merged its student body with Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington.
Father Sellinger lived to see the college's endowment grow from $1.9 million in 1967 to $52 million by last year.
Anne Neidhardt, a teacher at Broadneck Senior High School in Anne Arundel County, and Father Glynn also received Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.
The President's Medal went to Dr. Lawrence Fitzpatrick, a surgeon at Mercy Medical Center and the University of Maryland Hospital.
The Milch award went to the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Vincent Quayle, founding director, accepting.
John Stierhoff, counsel to the president of the Maryland Senate, received the Carroll Medal.
More than 800 graduate students will receive their degrees Tuesday night in the Reitz Arena.