“If here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have dreamed dreams, help one another, and those dreams may come true.” – President Rock Jones
One fine day in May—May 8, 2011, to be exact—close to 1,000 Ohio Wesleyan graduates and their families celebrated one of the most memorable days of their lives: Commencement 2011, and as always, a Mother’s Day with added celebration.
As prize-winning author and political scientist Mary E. King, Ph.D., delivered the keynote address, the 1962 Ohio Wesleyan graduate urged OWU’s 383 graduates to seek empowerment and fulfillment by helping others.
“I suggest that you can bring meaning to your life, make a difference in the world, and strive to bring about concrete change in crucial areas of human need, such as development, democracy, rights, and protection of the environment,” said King, a professor of peace and conflict studies at the U.N.-affiliated University for Peace and an international authority on nonviolent political movements, and a central figure in the contemporary U.S. women’s movement. King was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree that day by the University. Echoing King’s sentiments, President Rock Jones encouraged the University’s newest alumni to share their knowledge and compassion with the world.
“Here at OWU you were offered the intellectual tools, the social sensitivities, and the moral ballast to navigate the life that awaits you, to fulfill passions you already know and those that are yet to be discovered—to become leaders in every sector of human society, and to make an impact every day for the common good,” he said.
Also part of Commencement 2011 was the presentation of OWU’s two top teaching awards. The Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award was presented to theatre & dance professor Bonnie Milne Gardner ’77, and the Shankland Award for the Encouragement of Teachers went to Erin Flynn, associate professor of philosophy. In recognition of a faculty member who exemplifies the values and excellence that Professor Emeritus of English Libby Reed demonstrated during her 32 years at OWU as an English professor, the Libuse L. Reed Endowed Professorship, was presented to Ed Kahn, associate professor of theatre and dance. In addition, the University recognized three retiring faculty members with the Adam Poe Medal: psychology professor Kim Dolgin; accounting professor Joann Harvey; and politics and government professor Carl Pinkele.
Sharing her inspirational thoughts for the future, Alina Ruzmetova, senior class president, encouraged her classmates to dream big and act upon those dreams.
“OWU taught us to dream big. OWU gave us the confidence we would need to change the world. Ohio Wesleyan made a difference in our lives so we now can go and make a difference in the world.”