DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s graduating seniors will reflect upon and celebrate their four-year OWU journeys May 10 at baccalaureate and then receive their diplomas May 11 at commencement.
Baccalaureate will begin at 8 p.m. in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The event is planned by a group of students with assistance from the Office of the Chaplain. It typically features poetry and verse readings, personal reflections, and dance and music performances. Ohio Wesleyan’s Religious Life Awards also are presented during baccalaureate.
“Our goal for this service is to reflect the genuine nature of our campus community through interfaith, intercultural, multilingual, and multimedia presentations,” said senior Rachel L. Vinciguerra, co-chair of the event planning committee.
“We have chosen the theme ‘Living Stones, Rippling Waters’ to represent our class this year,” said Vinciguerra, a history major from of Reading, Mass. “This theme emphasizes that our foundations are not stagnant but living and dynamic, and that we will use this living-stone foundation to create our own ripples and effects on the waters of our world.”
At the beginning of baccalaureate, flags from each country represented by 2014 OWU graduates will be processed onto the stage by students from those countries, she said. New this year, the seniors also will create outside of Gray Chapel a gallery of objects and artwork outside that has special spiritual significance to the soon-to-be graduates.
“Baccalaureate is an incredibly important part of our graduation process,” Vinciguerra said. “While graduation represents the sum of our academic successes over the four years, I think baccalaureate is more personal and a way for us to celebrate our personal and spiritual growth and success through our time at OWU.”
Following baccalaureate, approximately 400 Ohio Wesleyan seniors will cross the stage May 11 and claim their diplomas as they conclude their undergraduate careers. The university’s 170th annual commencement ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Mother’s Day in Phillips Glen, located outside Phillips Hall, 50 S. Henry St., Delaware. In case of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved into Gordon Field House inside the Branch Rickey Physical Education Center, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, where admission will be by ticket only.
Stephen A. Ollendorff, president of the Ollendorff Center for Human and Religious Understanding, will serve as keynote speaker at the ceremony. Ollendorff and his family fled Nazi Germany in 1938, after which he and his mother spent a year living in Delaware in the home of Ohio Wesleyan sociology professor Guy Sarvis, Ph.D., and his wife, Maud.
The Sarvises understanding and acceptance of all people served as an inspiration to Ollendorff, an attorney, who founded the nonprofit Ollendorff Center to promote tolerance among people of all faiths worldwide.
Anthony M. Peddle, president of the OWU Class of 2014, also will speak during the graduation celebration. Peddle is an early childhood education major and English minor from Detroit, Mich.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.