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UMW awards degrees
UMW holds graduation

 Yvonne Washington (in white) walks with her friend, UMW graduate Rebecca Cuba, during the processional yesterday morning.
photos by ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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RELATED: 2010 UMW graduation list


Date published: 5/9/2010

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

Daniel Wolfe had a 1.4 grade-point average after his first semester at Mary Washington College.

He was a regional scholar--for half a year.

After graduating from Mary Washington in 1984, he lived with his parents for three years (no, they didn't have a basement).

His fiancee dumped him because "I was never going to make anything of my life."

Today Wolfe is vice president of worldwide creative operations for Universal Pictures. He spoke before almost 1,000 graduates at the University of Mary Washington's 99th commencement yesterday.

"I was floundering, not because I didn't know what I wanted to do, but because I was fearful of taking a chance," he said. "I didn't want to make the mistake of my life. Little did I know that my mistake was actually doing nothing."

Two years after graduating from Mary Washington, he said, his college roommate died in a car accident. He recalled that they had a passion for movies and would talk about film for hours.

"His death had a profound impact on my life," he said.

On a visit to Mary Washington, he came across a pamphlet for a graduate school specializing in video and film.

He decided to pursue his master's degree, and eventually moved to Los Angeles. During his tenure at Universal, he has been involved in more than 350 films, including "Schindler's List" and "A Beautiful Mind."

He told graduates that, like him, they can choose another path after making mistakes.

"You've done everything up to a point in your life for a variety of reasons," Wolfe said. "From now on, it's just about you. Where you go from here is your own personal mission."

BECOMING A MARINE

The highlight of Matt Cash's day yesterday was not when he received his diploma from UMW. It was realizing his lifelong dream of becoming a Marine.

After graduation, Cash changed into his military uniform to receive a commission in the Marine Corps on the terrace of Lee Hall. Understandably, he was preoccupied during commencement.

"I barely even noticed when I got my diploma," said Cash, who is from Stafford County. "It didn't sink in until I shook the president's hand."


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More than 200 graduate students at the University of Mary Washington's Stafford County campus received their diplomas during a separate ceremony Friday night. Retired state Sen. John Chichester was the commencement speaker.