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Wilson College class of 2002 offers wide range

May 13, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Timothy Gaughenbaugh knows he's not the typical Wilson College graduate.

At 39 years old with 22 years of work for the federal government under his belt, he said he has encountered some odd glances from people who think of Wilson only as a women's college.

But in cap and gown and as speaker for the College for Continuing Education's Class of 2002, Gaughenbaugh accepted his bachelor of arts diploma Sunday after addressing about 115 graduates.

"My experience has proven you are never too old to continue your education," he said.

Gaughenbaugh, who formerly worked at Letterkenny Army Depot near Chambersburg, actually started in the college's Continuing Education program not long after it began 20 years ago, but government jobs took him around the country until he finally was able to come back to the school full time last year.

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"I never should have put education on the back burner. I set a goal of getting my degree before age 40," and with four months to spare, Gaughenbaugh reached that goal Sunday.

Kristina Heuck, speaker for the College for Women's Class of 2002, directed her address to the future opportunities that colleges like Wilson afford women.

"Opportunities and advantages are abundant at this institution," she said. "These are not the same young women that entered Wilson four years ago."

Also during the 132nd annual commencement, alumna Athena Varounis, class of 1976, and Vice Admiral Patricia A. Tracey, director of Navy Staff, received honorary degrees.

Varounis is a special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigations and is credited as the inspiration for the character Clarise Starling in Thomas Harris' novel "Silence of the Lambs."

Varounis relayed a story to the graduates and their families inside Laird Hall Sunday afternoon about her investigation into a bullet fired through the living room window at the home of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackman in the 1980s.

Her investigation found the shot was part of a round fired into the air in Georgetown and randomly landed inside his apartment.

Varounis said while her conclusion that the shot was unintentional and not part of an assassination plot drew some criticism, Blackman trusted her because his daughter is also a Wilson graduate.

"He said, 'If you went to Wilson, I know what kind of person you are. I know about your character and integrity,'" she said.

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