Margaret Dalton, C'12, Alumni Commencement Speaker

May 10, 2021
Margaret Dalton, C'12, was nominated by members of the SPCS Alumni Association Board of Directors, to receive the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award for 2021

Margaret Dalton, C’12, a 2012 graduate of the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies, was nominated by members of the SPCS Alumni Association board of directors to receive the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award at 2021 Commencement Exercises on May 8, 2021. 

As award winner, Dalton received the opportunity to address graduating students during the ceremony. In her speech, reproduced below, Dalton offered reminded graduating students that their engagement in the School is only changing, not ending, as a result of graduating.

Video Address

Starts at the beginning of Dalton’s speech


Commencement Address

The messages that you have been hearing quite a bit, especially within the last month, are that “you’ve made it!” and that “all the work is done.” As a fellow alumnus of the University of Richmond’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies, which all of you will be once grades are finalized, I can tell you that these are not altogether accurate. The work becomes different. 

When I graduated in the spring of 2012 with my liberal arts degree, the biggest recalibration I had to make was the expectations of myself. I went from taking classes three nights a week and studying, reading, researching and writing in each spare moment, to wondering why I was standing at the door with keys in my hand and no place to be. The years I spent in class (this is the flashback section) were joyous, thrilling, and addictive. I thrived on the lectures, discussions, the research papers, and the shared constant learning and intellectual challenges each of us brought to class every week.

In the end, all things naturally transition to a different newness. This shift is what I mean by the “work” becoming different. Just because I, you, we all receive a diploma or certificate from this University, it does not mean the learning and community cease to be. Oh no! The expectation, the “work,” has now become a self-directed quest of listening, learning, and reconnecting with this learning community in a new role. 

Being part of the SPCS alumni is automatic, guaranteed and a line to add to your LinkedIn profile. However, truly being an active member of the SPCS Alumni Association means remembering, communicating and reaching back. It is truly an honor for me to be nominated and awarded the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award because being so is a recognition of me living those words and carrying that truth. 

Remember your struggle, the journey, and do not be afraid to share. Stay in touch and volunteer! To give back to the students who are coming behind you. Because in the end, while yes, “you’ve made it!” and sure, “all the work is done,” this is truly the beginning and the next step in your communal “work” chapter.

Biographical Summary

Margaret Dalton earned her Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in 2012 and credits her coursework with nourishing her lifelong learner commitment that continues to guide her personal and professional growth. She is a true advocate for the School and whenever given the opportunity, evangelizes about the benefits of attending an SPCS class, event or research overview. Dalton’s advocacy extends to service as well. She's been a member of the SPCS Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2014, having served as secretary, vice president, president and past president. She’s been instrumental in the Board's efforts to reshape its mission to focus on student and alumni engagement as well as expanded efforts to formalize project planning and communication efforts.

Dalton considers herself to be an imperfect practitioner of curiosity, critical thinking, community collaboration, and bridge-building, all of which have fostered her career growth. She currently serves as an IT Manager and Systems Engineer for Henrico County Public Schools. She joined Henrico County Public Schools in 2000 as a technical support technician and has held a variety of IT positions including systems administrator and senior systems administrator and supervisor.

Dalton is originally from the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. She and her husband, JW, currently reside in Henrico County and have two adult children, Erin and Zachary.