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Showing posts from December, 2018

2018 Commencement Speech

Graduation speech as delivered to the graduates of the University of Maryland's School of Architecture Planning and Preservation by Dr. Rodney Harrell on December 19, 2018: Good afternoon graduates, faculty, staff, family and friends.   It is my honor to be with you today. They say the best graduation speeches are short, focused and future-oriented, so naturally, I’ll start with something over 200 years ago. I used to work with the Maryland Heritage Areas Program. It was there that I learned about Riversdale, a mansion from the early 1800s located just a couple of miles from here. You don’t see a lot of houses like that - It strikes you as odd to see this Federal period mansion with these great Tuscan columns just a few blocks from Route One, and then you realize the massive scale of the plantation that it belonged to, which includes the ground that we stand on today. It makes me think of how much has changed around here since that time – slavery and tobacco crops no longer exi