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Founders' Day Convocation is Sept. 12

  • Monday, September 9, 2013

    UMES recognizes Founders' Day with convocation

    Dr. Leon CopelandPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sept. 9, 2013)The University of Maryland Eastern Shore observes its 127th Founders' Day with a convocation and commencement for 26 doctorate candidates in the school's physical therapy program.

    The students, 22 of whom are from Maryland and seven of which hail from the Eastern Shore, will don traditional caps and gowns Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. to receive the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree after three years of study.  Graduates then have one more hurdle to clear-passing the national licensing exam.  UMES has an envious record of producing graduates who earn the credential on the first try, said Dr. Raymond L. Blakely, the program's founder and chair.  Following licensure, they will enter the healthcare field as physical therapists in hospitals, senior care facilities and the private sector with home health providers.

    Dr. Juliette B. Bell, the university's 15th leader, will give the Founders' Day address.  The UMES Wind Ensemble, and Concert and Gospel choirs will perform.  During the ceremony, Dr. Leon Copeland of Salisbury will receive the Faculty Emeriti award.

    Copeland retired from the university a year ago after a 35-year career in the Department of Technology, where he most recently served as chair in addition to professor.  He is being recognized for his individual achievements and leadership.  During his tenure, the Department of Technology earned accreditation with the American Council for Construction Education for the school's Construction Management program and the National Association for Accreditation of Teacher Education for the Technology Education program.  He established off-campus programs in Construction Management Technology at the Universities at Shady Grove in Montgomery County and in Career and Technology Education at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

    Among others, Copeland was successful in securing a $1.2 million grant in 1999 from the National Science Foundation to administer the Technology Education Leadership Project and from the State of Maryland to develop a state-wide Career and Technology Education Certification curriculum for occupational teachers in Maryland.

    Copeland received many awards over his career in education.  He is married to Mary Copeland, who was also a career educator with Wicomico County public schools, retiring after 30 years as an elementary school teacher.

    Following convocation, wreath laying and birthday cake cutting ceremonies ensue.  Home Depot will also present a check for $10,000 representing the school's award in their campus improvement grant contest-Retool Your School.  

    Founders' Week events are free and open to the public.  Seating, however, for convocation is limited.  For more information, call 410-651-6669 or visit  


    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580,