May 9, 2013
In the World

2013 Commencement Recognition

Wittenberg University Gives Three Honorary Degrees During 2013 Commencement Exercises

As anticipation grows for the more than 350 students set to graduate during Wittenberg’s 168th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, three other distinguished guests will be recognized along with the class of 2013. Fritz Ermarth, Hans Michael Ermarth and Matthew Shay, class of 1984, will each be presented honorary degrees during the ceremony.

A member of the Senior Intelligence Service of the CIA prior to his retirement in 1998, Fritz Ermarth spent more than 40 years on national security affairs in government, academic and commercial institutions, specializing in Soviet, strategic, and regional conflict issues. The son of Wittenberg history professor, the late Margaret Ermarth, Fritz Ermarth will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

A historian of modern Germany, Hans Michael Ermarth has unique ties to Wittenberg. Also the son of the late Margaret Ermarth, he went on to his own successful career in the classroom, serving on the history faculty of Dartmouth College for nearly four decades before his retirement in 2011. Hans Michael Ermarth will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

Shay is president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, and he has been invited to serve as Wittenberg’s 2013 Commencement speaker. Shay leads the world’s largest retail trade association and serves as chief spokesman for an industry that includes more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments, supports 42 million U.S. jobs and contributes $2.5 trillion to annual gross domestic product. He will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters.

In addition, two other Wittenberg graduates have been recognized recently with awards from the university.

Recognized repeatedly during a career that has spanned more than 60 years, Judge William A. McClain, class of 1934, was the first African American to become a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association, to serve as the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge, and to serve as solicitor for the City of Cincinnati. Wittenberg presented McClain, for whom the university’s Center for Diversity is named, with its highest non-academic award, the Wittenberg Medal of Honor, during its annual Honors Convocation on April 12.

Remembered for his tireless support of Wittenberg and willingness to give back, Charles D. “Chad” Weller was a loving father and husband and a leader in the field of business with specific expertise in financial strategy, operations and international business. A member of the Wittenberg Board of Directors, serving most recently as vice chairman until his passing last year, Weller will be recognized posthumously in the fall with the Wittenberg Medal of Honor.

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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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