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Abudu, Bell to Speak at Commencement, Baccalaureate

Commencement exercises for the members of Mercersburg Academy’s Class of 2024 will be Saturday, May 25, at 10 a.m. on the traditional platform between Keil Hall and South Cottage on campus.

Nancy Abudu ’92, a former civil rights lawyer who is now a federal appellate court judge, will present the Commencement address.

Faculty member David Bell P ’17, ’18, who is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year after 27 years at Mercersburg, will be the featured speaker at Baccalaureate, Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m. in the Irvine Memorial Chapel.

Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25 will preside over the school’s Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises.

Abudu was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, making her the first African-American woman to serve on the court in its 40-year history. This lifetime appointment allows her to play a significant role in the interpretation and application of federal laws that have a direct impact on the lives of many people.

Abudu recognizes the trailblazers who came before her, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “While she and I might not have shared the same judicial philosophy on all issues , there is no debate that she paved the way for me and so many women on the bench,” Abudu said. “I hope that even if people do not always agree with my legal opinions or views, they will respect that I engaged in this work with humility and a true love for the law; that although our legal system is far from perfect, I was part of a group that never gave up on our legal system’s promise of equal justice under the law for all.”

Bell has served in numerous roles over the years, including librarian, director of library and information services, history faculty, coach, class dean, dean on duty, history instructor for Summer Programs, and summer driver. He holds the Archibald H. Rutledge Chair and was the previous holder of the Marjorie McCrae McCulloh Chair.

Indoor seating for and a livestream of both Commencement and Baccalaureate will be available in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre. Both ceremonies will be streamed live online at (In the event of inclement weather, Commencement will be held in the Hale Field House.)

More information about Commencement Weekend events is available online. Questions about Commencement events can be directed to Laurie Rice in the Office of Student Life (717-328-6119 or