Wittenberg University Preps For 166th Commencement Exercises
Published May 13, 2011
Springfield, Ohio —For the 166th time in its illustrious history, Wittenberg University will hold Commencement exercises. On May 14, the event is scheduled to take place in the traditional Commencement Hollow location, where members of the university community will celebrate scholarship with 387 degree candidates slated to cross the stage.
The Myers Hall bell will toll at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and again at noon on Saturday to notify the campus that the ceremony will be held in its intended outdoor location at the scheduled time of 1:30 p.m. If the bell does not ring, that will be a signal that the ceremony will be held in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center, with the doors scheduled to open at noon. Guests should be seated at either venue no later than 1 p.m.
If the ceremony is moved to the HPER Center, doors to Pam Evans Smith Arena will close at 1:15 p.m. to allow for movement of the academic procession. No one will be permitted to enter the arena after the doors have closed. Guests without tickets are welcomed and encouraged to view the ceremony via a video broadcast transmitted to classrooms throughout Hollenbeck Hall.
Special parking and seating have been arranged for physically disabled guests. For Commencement exercises held outdoors, physically disabled guests may enter campus before noon through the drive on North Plum Street. A Wittenberg security officer will be at the driveway entrance to give instructions for parking and seating. In the event the exercises are held indoors, physically disabled guests may be dropped off in front of the HPER Center. Because of limited space in the HPER Center, seating is at a premium, so disabled guests may be seated with only one friend or family member.
Those scheduled for recognition during the Commencement ceremony include 16 “non-traditional” students from the School of Community Education and international students from Columbia, Germany, Jamaica, Japan and Viet Nam. The Class of 2011 is comprised of 198 females and 189 males, with biology, business, communication, education, English and psychology representing the most popular majors.
Twenty-two states and the aforementioned five countries outside of the United States are represented within the graduating class. Undergraduate degrees to be awarded are Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science, in addition to Master of Arts in Education. Three students in the class have earned two degrees during their collegiate career at Wittenberg.
A total of 117 graduates will earn Latin honors in recognition of their exceptional academic pursuits. Forty-five of them will be designated cum laude (3.5-3.69 grade point average), 28 magna cum laude (3.7-3.79) and 44 summa cum laude (3.8-4.0), including Laura McLaughlin from Cincinnati, Ohio, who holds a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
The 2011 Commencement speaker is LiveSTRONG President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor who has dedicated his life to being a vehicle of hope for individuals and families affected by cancer, the world’s leading cause of death. Founder, along with his family, of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, Ulman has been called “a catalyst for better cancer care and education across the globe,” and the “most entrepreneurial foundation in cancer.”
Ulman is one of four individuals receiving honorary degrees during Wittenberg’s 2011 Commencement Exercises. Susan Hirt Hagen, class of 1957, has played a leadership role in improving the lives of residents in her hometown of Erie, Pa. for more than 40 years. From helping with efforts to curtail teenage pregnancy and school dropout rates to volunteering with the United Way, where she served as the first woman to chair the organization’s board and earned the Alexis de Tocqueville Award, Hagen has consistently distinguished herself in her work, including serving as the first woman on several prominent boards. Most recently, the Pennsylvania Society presented her with its 2010 Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award.
Fred R. Leventhal is one of the most involved and active civic leaders in Wittenberg’s hometown of Springfield, Ohio. He has served as either chairman, co-chair, president or a member of more than a dozen community organizations, boards and fundraising initiatives. Leventhal has helped bring numerous nationally recognized speakers to the university thanks to the family’s endowed Wittenberg Series-sponsored annual lecture series, and he is also an emeritus member of Wittenberg’s Board of Directors, an honorary alumnus of the university, and a recipient of an honorary doctor of humane letters from Wittenberg.
Sara Gruen received her honorary degree while on campus in April to make an address for the inaugural Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture, one of the 2010-11 Wittenberg Series events. Recipient of the 2007 Book Sense Book of the Year Award and numerous other recognitions, Gruen has penned several acclaimed novels, including Water for Elephants, an instant #1 New York Times bestseller with more than three million copies in print. Gruen’s most recent work, Ape House, also claimed a coveted spot on The New York Times bestseller list just as the movie version of Water for Elephants hit theaters nationwide.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Commencement Photo By: Erin Pence