May 14, 2022
On Campus

Congrats, Graduates

Wittenberg Celebrates Class of 2022 With 172nd Commencement Exercises

It was a joyous return to picturesque Commencement Hollow for the 346 graduates who comprise the class of 2022. Wittenberg’s newest alumni were honored and celebrated before family, friends, faculty, and staff during the 172ndCommencement exercises today, Saturday, May 14.

Throughout the week, students reflected on their college life, friendships, the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of community, trust in times of change, and the courage to have a voice and to be heard.

Wittenberg President Michael L. Frandsen led the Commencement ceremony, congratulating the class of 2022 in his opening remarks and asking the graduates to reflect on their time at the University.

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“It is wonderful to be back in Commencement Hollow for the first time since 2019. Thank you to all who have joined us – mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandparents, and other family and friends for whom this is a special day,” he said. “The last two years have pushed us out of our comfort zones many times we and presented challenges for all of us that none of us expected.  Learning, growth, and change are a continuous process. Through the experiences you’ve had, the twists and turns with sometimes daily changes, and through the power of an education in the liberal arts and sciences at a place and in a community like ours, you have prepared yourselves for a lifetime of change. There are few straight lines in life, but it is the changes that make life interesting and help us grow.”

Frandsen then went on to remind graduates of the acronym he shared when they first arrived on campus for the 2017-18 academic year – his first year as Wittenberg’s 15th president. The acronym was ABLE, which stands for Attitude, Balance, Light, and Experiment.

Frandsen said to the class of 2022, “as you leave this place with your diploma, I leave you with these final thoughts from me: Whether you remember from your first days here or not, I hope you will take ABLE with you. It’s good advice for life, not just for college. Embrace change; it may be the only constant in your life. Embrace people, relationships are the true riches in our lives. Find ways, large and small, globally and locally, to pass on your light to others. And remember that you are always and forever a Wittenberg Tiger; keep in touch and share with us your stories as your life unfolds.”

Senior Class President Avery Adams also addressed her classmates during the ceremony. Adams, from Ripley, Ohio, is a political science major.

“To the class of 2022, congratulations! I am excited to be here today addressing you despite the various challenges we have had to face to get to this day,” she said. “While everyone’s journey to this point was different, this day is something we can always cherish together; our efforts have molded this community. Through various traditions, campus involvements, and places of living we have created a space we can always look back to with a smile on our faces.”

Adams encouraged her classmates to step out of their comfort zones and “be ready to take the rest of your life by the horns.”

“We will leave this hollow today not knowing for sure when we will be back or when we will see each other again. But, much like we did when we arrived on this campus, we will learn to adapt and flourish in our new environments. I have faith in myself and you that we can embrace the discomfort and make the most out of this new challenge we must conquer,” she added. “This feeling, the feeling of going off into the unknown, is not a pleasant one, but it is critical in life. When we enter into the unknown, we are presented with opportunities. And while this is a total cliché, the opportunities are endless. As we walk across this stage today, we need to embrace the numerous opportunities that will be presented, apply the knowledge and experiences we have gained here as students, and trust that we will make the best decision for ourselves. Because that is the best anyone can do.”

Tim McCarthy, class of 2002 and former owner of the Raising Cane’s Ohio franchise, served as the class’ keynote speaker. From English major to entrepreneur, social change advocate, and philanthropist, McCarthy has close to 20 years of experience in the business world, having spent many years building and focusing on RCO Limited, the Ohio Franchise Partner of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers founded in November 2003. Built up to be the largest franchise organization within the Raising Cane’s system, McCarthy and RCO Limited became known for their impressive results as well as the way they advocated for and supported their employees.

A resident of Worthington, Ohio, McCarthy is motivated by the social impact made possible by a successful business, and desiring to make this impact on a larger scale, he and his business partners purchased WorkPlace Impact (then WorkPlace Media) in 2013. In July 2017, Cara Zale, a social capital investment company, was born. Through Cara Zale, McCarthy and his partners publicize that they are focused on “Growing Great Businesses and Developing People who Create Social Change.”

He shared his story about finding himself and crafting his life story with the 2022 graduates.

“The weirdest part about these stories, about our stories, is that we don’t know we are crafting them as they are being written,” he said. “We don’t know because for large swaths of them, they feel so mundane. Going to the grocery store. Writing a to-do list. Re-organizing your bedroom is as much of an important part of your story as graduating from high school or college is – as setting a goal and achieving it is. It is as important as being there for a friend in their most horrible moments. Those mundane moments are as important as finding your love and creating a life together, having kids (or not).

After reading a poem he wrote that asked “what is enough?” he then added a few additional words of wisdom.

“You will find, if you look, that the struggle to achieve is the long event that did. For you are no better, or worse, of a person before the achievement that you are after. The day before I sold the company, I thought I would be an amazing person the day after. Come to find out…nope…still the same. After 42 years and many people coming through my life, I am here to tell you that there are no good or bad people in this world. There are people who do and strive for their level best, and there are people who have decided that they are done learning and growing…that they have all the answers.

“Imperfect people don’t do amazing things because they are perfect,” he added. “Imperfect people do amazing things because they find out that their imperfections lead them to the amazing things in life…if they can sit with their imperfections and accept them as themselves. Expect the struggle to be better (not perfect…better) to change you. Expect the fallout from the disappointment of what the achievement didn’t bring, to change you. Don’t expect the achievement, itself, to change you.”

He concluded his remarks by urging the class to “allow the imperfect you to find the joy, searching through the hard, crucible, crucial moments of life, to find the better you, that is who you already are. Congratulations, Class of 2022!”

The conferring of degrees then followed. A total of 119 graduates earned Latin honors in recognition of their exceptional academic pursuits, including 50 graduating summa cum laude, 28 graduating magna cum laude, and 41 cum laude. Four students graduated with a 4.0: Casey Conrad of Mount Gilead, Ohio; Sadie Kurtzman of Crestline, Ohio; Hannah Shafer of Dayton, Ohio; and Rachel Boyette of Lakewood, Ohio.

Lastly, the graduates were welcomed into Wittenberg’s vibrant alumni community by Steve Shanor, class of 1990 and president of the Wittenberg University Alumni Association.

“Four years ago, you turned a page in life and started a new chapter. You loaded up everything you could fit in the car, and you moved to Wittenberg University, your ‘home away from home.’  You said good-bye to your childhood friends, your childhood home, and you set out to make a new home here at Wittenberg," Shanor said. His son, Matt, was among the graduates.

"Over the last four years you’ve met professors who inspired you, encouraged you, and helped you learn and grow. You met lifelong friends who will remain an important part of your life for the rest of your life," Shanor continued. "You discovered a lot about a lot of things, including yourself. Through your community service, you also learned the importance of service to others. As a graduate of Wittenberg you are all now part of a new Wittenberg home – you are a Wittenberg alum! I challenge you to continue to let your light shine and to support others as theirs are ignited through the alumni association. Know that you are and always will be welcomed home.”

The class of 2022 included students from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, as well as one international student from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Degrees awarded included bachelor of arts, bachelor of music education, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in nursing, masters of arts in athletic coaching, master of arts in education, and master of science in analytics. Two students earned two degrees and the most popular majors included biology, business management, education, exercise science, marketing, and nursing.

On a special note for today’s ceremony, President Frandsen congratulated Matevia Endowed University pastors Andy and Rachel Tune.

“They are ‘graduating’ into retirement this summer after 23 years of dedicated service and leadership at Wittenberg. I am grateful for their passion for this place and its people, especially our students. We have about 26,000 living alumni and by my rough count about one-third of them have been influenced by Andy and Rachel during their time at Wittenberg.  Thank you for all you have done.”

The event was streamed live, a recording of which is available online. For that link and additional Commencement information, click here. Special coverage can also be found on Twitter at #StompTheSeal.

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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