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Shippensburg alum speaks at commencement

May 12, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Pamela O'Berry Evans was the first in her family to graduate from college when she graduated from Shippensburg University in 1990.

Evans, who currently is a commissioner for the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, came back to her alma mater on Saturday as the keynote speaker for Shippensburg's spring commencement.

"I want to salute this university, which I am proud to call my alma mater," Evans said as she began her speech to approximately 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

Evans' message to Shippensburg University's class of 2007 involved the virtues of courage, sacrifice and faith, which she believed they embodied.

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"These are the hard-earned values the class of 2007 has in the aftermath of 9/11, Virginia Tech and in a time of war," she said. "You are on the brink of incredible futures, energized to move forward, just 25 days after Virginia Tech. You have chosen not to cower at what happened."

After 9/11, "never again would Americans feel safe just for being in America," Evans said. "Yet, two years later, most of you left (home) and stepped into a world called Shippensburg."

Senior class President Andrew Regosch also spoke at commencement, congratulating his colleagues on their graduation.

"Today is a day for reflections and accomplishments," he said.

Evans spoke about how Shippensburg had affected her life and how several teachers she had were the reason she chose to pursue a degree in English and then go on to get her law degree.

One professor in particular "was the first person who told me I had talent for writing," she said. "It was ... (this professor) who told me my skills would be useful in a career in law."

In her 7 1/2 years as a commonwealth's attorney for Richmond, Va., "I saw justice for hundreds of victims of crimes," Evans said. "I was able to give people faith in the criminal justice system."

Since graduating from Shippensburg and receiving her law degree from American University Washington College of Law, Evans has worked as an attorney in private practice; advised chiefs of police with police departments in Richmond, Detroit and Prince George's County, Md.; and taught criminal law classes as an adjunct professor.

Evans also was named one of Richmond's "Top 40 Under 40" by Richmond's Inside Business.

"I have chosen to make lessons of what life has given to me - good and bad," Evans said as she ended her speech. "If you do the same, your life will be rich, meaningful and inspired."

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