May 12, 2022
On Campus

Hats Off to the Class of 2022

Wittenberg University Set to Host 172nd Commencement Exercises

Wittenberg University will conduct its 172nd Commencement exercises in-person to celebrate the class of 2022 on Saturday, May 14. Approximately 350 degree candidates are expected to cross the stage in picturesque Commencement Hollow, the first time in this traditional setting since the pandemic began.

Prior to Commencement, the Class of 2022 will hold its Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 13, in historic Weaver Chapel. Pre-service music will begin at 4 p.m., with the ceremony starting at 4:15 p.m. 

The Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2022 will begin 11 a.m. Saturday. All guests must be seated by 10:30 a.m. Access to Commencement Hollow will be restricted until 9 a.m., and a limited number of socially distanced seats will be made available for guests who request them days ahead of the ceremony. Families may also bring their own chairs or blankets for seating.

The rain location for the ceremony will be inside the Pam Evans Smith Arena, part of the Health, Wellness & Athletics (HWA) Complex. Tickets are required and have already been distributed to the graduates. Others wishing to view the ceremony can watch online here.

Speaking at the ceremony will be President Michael L. Frandsen, keynote speaker Tim McCarthy, class of 2002, and Steve Shanor, class of 1990, president of the Wittenberg University Alumni Association. Class president Avery Adams, a political science major from Ripley, Ohio, will also address classmates.

GradImages, a leader in commencement photography, will handle capturing photos of all degree candidates with their diplomas for purchase.

Friday’s Baccalaureate service, planned and led by members of the senior class and Matevia Endowed University Pastor Rachel Sandum Tune, is an academic and religious tradition that celebrates the upcoming Commencement festivities. The service, which will last approximately an hour and be livestreamed on Wittenberg’s Facebook page, offers seniors an opportunity to reflect on their time at the University and to look to faith as they begin the next step in their journey.

Members of the Class of 2022 will share the importance of community and trust in times of change, and challenge one another to live out their callings beyond Wittenberg. Senior Class Secretary Claire DeWeese and Wittenberg President Michael Frandsen will offer greetings. Other seniors offering reflections include Braeden Meier, Katie Hiestand, and Zarek Porter. Pastor Rachel Sandum Tune will deliver the homily.

Seniors will also take part in the service in a variety of ways.  Under the direction of Dr. Erik Zinter, senior members of the Wittenberg Choir and Wittenberg Singers will offer “Best of Rooms,” a composition by the late Dr. Donald Busarow, professor of music and beloved choir director. Other special music will be offered on piano by seniors Samuel Bennett, Lillyan Gaertner, and Zachary Howe; Shanté Leslie will sing, “His Eye is on the Sparrow;” and Molly Moran will accompany a hymn on the flute. Scripture will be read by Saqib Rasheed, Emmanuel Thombs, Anthony Petruzzi, Jessica Crowder, and Rachel Kaiser. Prayers will be given by Alexa Bell, Sarah Oliver, Dorothy Morgan, and Evelina Chandran. The offering this year will be designated for food insecurity and relief, locally through the Second Harvest Food Bank, and globally through Church World Service, especially in their response in Ukraine.  

The annual tradition also includes the lighting of a memorial candle in honor of loved ones who cannot be at Commencement, or who have passed away.  McKenna Baker will introduce the lighting, and Abigail Yunker will read the psalm.  A special remembrance will be offered for faculty and staff who passed away this year. Paige Wright will honor the memory of Dr. Larry Gwinn, professor of economics, and Andrew Shaffer will honor the memory of Emily Burnett, music department assistant. 

For Commencement exercises, the Myers Hall bell will toll 15 times at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and again at 10 a.m. to notify the campus that the ceremony will be held in its intended outdoor location at the scheduled time of 11 a.m. If the bell does not ring, that will be a signal that the ceremony will take place inside at the Pam Evans Smith Arena, part of the Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex.

Special parking has been arranged for physically disabled guests in the parking areas behind Carnegie and Recitation Halls. The exit to N. Plum Street (the road behind Koch Hall) will be reversed so that vehicles cannot exit onto N. Plum Street from west campus drive and instead vehicles will be able to enter from N. Plum Street at 8 a.m. to allow easy access to the Recitation Hall and Carnegie Hall parking lots to accommodate parking for handicap guests only. To help alleviate traffic congestion, there will be no westbound traffic on West Ward Street between Woodlawn Avenue and N. Wittenberg Avenue. Vehicular traffic will be redirected down Woodlawn Avenue to W. College Avenue. A shuttle service will be provided prior to and after the ceremony for those with mobility issues.

In order to allow guests to gather safely for the ceremony, Wittenberg will be closing East and West Campus Drives at 8 a.m. on May 14. Officers will be at these locations to assist graduates and their families and friends. Other parking locations include New Residence Hall, Tower Hall, Firestine Hall, Synod Hall, Hollenbeck Hall, the Benham-Pence Student Center, and Krieg Hall. Click here for directions, campus maps, and detailed parking information.

In the event of inclement weather and Commencement needing to be held at the Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex, the University will not regulate traffic on Ward Street. The handicapped parking for an indoor Commencement is located in the Upper Lot (across from HWA). Guests with disabilities can enter the HWA via the entrance facing Bill Edwards Drive. A shuttle service will be provided prior to and after the ceremony for those with mobility issues even if the event moves indoors.

Restrooms for an outdoor ceremony will be available on Commencement Day at Recitation Hall, Blair Hall, Weaver Chapel, and Ferncliff Hall. ADA-accessible facilities are located in Blair Hall and Weaver Chapel. ADA-accessible restrooms will also be available in the parking lot behind Carnegie Hall.

For those with special needs/requests regarding ceremony logistics, please contact Commencement Committee Chair Brandee Bates Kern at For additional information, click here

Be sure to follow a favorite Commencement tradition, #StompTheSeal, on social media, as well.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

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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