Graduates celebrate their success

The Baltimore Sun

Students from Coppin State University, Villa Julie College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore received degrees yesterday, marking the second week of the year's commencement season.

Comptroller Peter Franchot used part of his address to Coppin's graduating class of 143 graduate students to urge them to resist "the siren call of slot machines and casino gambling" and "not allow your state to resort to gimmicks and quick fixes," according to his prepared remarks.

Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat, is a leading opponent of expanding gambling in Maryland, an issue that will be decided by voters in a November referendum to amend the state constitution to allow 15,000 "video lottery terminals" across the state.

At 1st Mariner Arena, Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, delivered the keynote address and a song to about 1,200 of 1,800 graduates of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the state university system's downtown graduate campus.

Also yesterday, National Public Radio host and Baltimore native Farai Chideya spoke at two commencement ceremonies for Baltimore County's Villa Julie College, where about 500 students were expected to receive degrees. Chideya and Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat, were scheduled to receive honorary degrees.

Today, Loyola College will confer about 1,600 degrees at 1st Mariner Arena, with television reporter Lesley Stahl delivering the commencement address for the North Baltimore private school. Tomorrow, it will be Morgan State University's turn to hand out about 1,000 degrees at W.A.C. Hughes Memorial Stadium on the public university's Northeast Baltimore campus. Coppin's undergraduate commencement ceremony is also scheduled for tomorrow.

Other Maryland campuses holding graduation ceremonies this weekend include Bowie State University in Prince George's County and Washington College on the Eastern Shore, which is the oldest college in the state and is celebrating its 225th anniversary.

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