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February 7, 2020
On Campus

2020 Commencement Speaker Announced

Wittenberg to Welcome U.S. Virgin Islands Governor and Alumnus Albert Bryan Jr. as 2020 Commencement Speaker

Springfield, Ohio – The Wittenberg University class of 2020 has chosen Albert Bryan Jr., Wittenberg class of 1989 and governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, to present the keynote address at the university’s 170th Commencement Exercises, set to take place in picturesque Commencement Hollow on May 16, 2020.

“The senior class is excited to have Governor Bryan as our Commencement speaker,” said Leul Bulcha, senior class president. “Mr. Bryan clearly reflects the power of a Wittenberg education in the world. His journey to his current position, and his passion for helping others inspired our class, and we look forward to welcoming him to campus in May.”

Bryan is the ninth governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands (population of 110,000). The accomplishment completed a lifelong goal that Bryan said he has worked on since graduating from Wittenberg.

“I have always been attracted to leadership and politics, and I could think of no more rewarding an occupation than serving the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the highest office in the land,” said Bryan, who was born and raised on the island of St. Thomas, but has lived on the island of St. Croix for more than 35 years. He graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in economics and earned his MBA from the University of the Virgin Islands in 2003.

Bryan’s career track has reflected Wittenberg’s success in producing problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and creative graduates who can adapt and succeed wherever they land. Bryan has pursued such diverse paths as an oil refinery worker, business office manager of a multi-million-dollar Virgin Islands corporation, commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Labor, and an entrepreneur focused on strategies to create business opportunities and career paths for others. He also inspired future generations in financial literacy and leadership as executive director of the Virgin Islands branch of Junior Achievement USA.

As governor, he now presides over four islands - St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and Water Island - and 25 different departments. He is complemented by a legislature of 15 elected senators.

“In the Virgin Islands, we do not have state sport teams, so politics is a ‘national’ pastime,” said Bryan, who was a peer mentor and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Mu Xi, and Concerned Black Students during his time at Wittenberg. “Politics has been in my blood from a very young age, and I still remember accompanying my mom to campaign rallies. My family lived and breathed politics. As I grew older, I took a natural liking to the social nature of the job and, and of course, the constant debating that has enabled me and others to be more engaged citizens.”

Bryan put a lot of stock in Wittenberg, moving almost 2,000 miles away from home to attend. It ended up being a school that offered him not only the degree he originally sought in political science, but a global platform for him to more fully understand human nature and the importance of the diversity of people, culture, and faith.

“The academic and life lessons I experienced at Wittenberg (which included a change to economics from political science as my major) presented me a broader perspective for achieving a successful career path when I returned home,” he said. “Political science didn’t offer me the excitement that I thought it would. The lure to the economy and its constant movement seemed practical, and it all made tremendous sense to me. I continue to use that education every day, and economic development is the cornerstone of our platform. I must say that the education that I was privileged to receive helped me to strengthen a foundation that has led me this far. There is a lot more to do, and I am confident that my Wittenberg education is the gift that will keep on giving.”

Bryan will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters during the Commencement ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m. in Commencement Hollow. In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held in the Health, Wellness & Athletics Center’s Pam Evans Smith Arena. Tickets are required for an indoor ceremony.

Wittenberg Commencement
Wittenberg's class of 2020 will celebrate the university's 170th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 16, 2020, in picturesque Commencement Hollow.
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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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