PORTLAND — A businessman playing Beethoven on harmonica was one of the highlights at Saturday’s University of Southern Maine graduation ceremonies at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Nearly 1,000 graduates attended the event, including students from the Lewiston-Auburn College in Lewiston, got a special send-off with words of wisdom delivered by alumnus David Shaw, a renowned business leader and social entrepreneur who holds a masters in business administration from the school. He urged students to take risks in life and be “skeptical of conventional thinking because it can very often be wrong.”

After speaking, he played a rendition of “Ode To Joy” on his harmonica, accompanying vocalist Carolyn Glaude of Topsham.

Actor Michael J. Fox made a cameo appearance via videotape to honor his late friend, Albert B. Glickman, who was awarded a posthumous honorary degree, according to USM spokesman Robert Caswell.

Albert B. Glickman, one of three honorary degree recipients, was a Portland native recognized for his contributions to business and dedication to philanthropy, the arts, public higher education and health. He was a trustee of the University of Maine System and served for many years on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

USM’s Portland campus library was named the Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library in 1997, commemorating a gift Glickman and his wife, Judy Ellis Glickman, made to the university.

Calling USM an “underrated gem of a school,” student Anna Chiu told the audience of 8,000 that she had been ashamed of her Chinese heritage before attending USM. “The vast diversity of students and faculty we have” at USM” helped with her personal growth, she said.

Chiu, who was awarded a degree in health science with a minor in biology, looks forward to visiting China for the first time to explore her family history before attending graduate school.

Receiving an honorary degree was Judy Ellis Glickman of Cape Elizabeth, an internationally recognized photographer. She was bestowed the degree for her dedication to philanthropy and higher education, her commitment to the memory of the Holocaust and her contributions to the field of photography, according to Caswell.

Glickman is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, and has exhibited her photographs worldwide. Her work is represented in over 300 private collections, and is in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

Also receiving an honorary degree was Carol Wishcamper of Freeport for her contributions to leadership and organizational development, her commitment to social justice and her support of education, Caswell said. She chaired the Maine State Board of Education, the Freeport School Committee, and served as a trustee of the College of the Atlantic and of Waynflete School. She also co-chaired USM’s “Transforming USM” campaign, which raised funds for the Wishcamper Center, an expanded Osher Map Library, and the Dorothy Suzi Osher Promenade.

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