Wittenberg University To Recognize Distinguished Guests With Honors During 2014 Commencement Exercises
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — As anticipation grows for the more than 390 students set to graduate during Wittenberg’s 169th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 17, three distinguished guests will be recognized along with the class of 2014. Donna de Varona, William Steinbrink, class of 1964 as well as chair of Wittenberg’s Board of Directors from 2005-2008 and the university’s interim president in 2004-2005, and Robert Hobby, class of 1985, will each earn honors from the institution.
A pioneer in women’s athletics, de Varona earned a gold medal in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, in the women’s 400-meter individual medley, besting her competition by six seconds to set an Olympic record. She added a second gold medal as a member of the record-setting U.S. team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay en route to a career total of 18 world best times and world records.
Hailed by the Associated Press and United Press International as the “Most Outstanding Woman Athlete in the World,” de Varona continued her competitive swimming career and embarked on an award-winning television career as a sportscaster for ABC’s famed Wide World of Sports program at age 17, becoming the youngest sportscaster on a national network and one of the first females in the business. A leading activist for sports and fitness for youth, de Varona will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony.
Steinbrink has consistently served his alma mater, and the fields of law and business, with distinction. A partner with the international law firm Jones Day for 27 years, Steinbrink assisted and advised businesses in connection with fundamental transactions, financing and governance, and later led an initiative to implement formal knowledge management practices at the firm. A graduate of Duke University Law School, Steinbrink also served as president and CEO of Laurel Industries Inc. and as president and CEO of CSM Industries Inc. Since 2008 he has served as principal of Unstuck LLC, a firm specializing in business, legal and family mediation services, and continues to serve on the board of directors for the J.M. Smucker Company. Steinbrink will receive the Wittenberg Medal of Honor.
Hobby serves as director of music at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Ind., where he manages a diverse array of concerts and ensembles, and plays for worship services. Most of his composition time is spent writing commissions for churches and organizations around the country. More than 250 of his compositions are in print with leading publishers, including Augsburg Fortress, Concordia, MorningStar and Warner Brothers, and several have been featured nationally on select radio and television programs. Hobby will receive an honorary doctorate of music at the ceremony.