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Ohio Wesleyan University Graduates 400 Students in Class of 2009

May 11, 2009

Ohio Wesleyan University celebrated the graduation of its Class of 2009 on May 10. A total of 400 students earned diplomas during the university’s 165th Commencement ceremony.
Photo by Doug Martin
DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University celebrated its 165th commencement ceremony May 10 with 400 students earning diplomas. Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2009 included 55 cum laude graduates, 30 magna cum laude graduates, 21 summa cum laude graduates, and three graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Before concluding the ceremony, OWU President Rock Jones, Ph.D., encouraged the university’s newest alumni to share their knowledge and compassion with the world.

“If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found freedom, take it with you into the world,” Jones said, sharing traditional OWU graduation wishes. “If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found peace, go and share it with others. If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found some portion of truth, go and seek it all the more. If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have dreamed dreams, help one another, and those dreams may come true. If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have known love, give some back to a bruised and hurting world.”

Keynote speaker Virginia Pearsall Kirkwood, a 1964 OWU alumna, reinforced the message of global engagement and responsibility by discussing the difference service can make in the lives of others. Throughout her life, Kirkwood has worked internationally as a Peace Corps volunteer and director, a Special Olympics director, and a volunteer, organizer, or board member in efforts to aid educationally disadvantaged children. Her efforts have touched lives in China, the Philippines, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, and Turkey, as well as in the United States.

“We drew the long straw when we were born here in America,” she told the graduates, encouraging them always to ask “what value do we add, what future can we enhance?” In addition, she said, “When you have the chance to help someone less fortunate, just do it.”

Also addressing the new OWU alumni was Amanda N. Thompson, president of the Class of 2009. Thompson, a resident of Easley, S.C., is a politics and government and humanities-classics double major. She plans to attend graduate school at Wake Forest University in the fall.

“This school has completely changed my life,” Thompson said, urging her fellow classmates never to settle for what they know. “Always, every day, try to embrace everything life has to offer,” she said.

In addition to honoring Ohio Wesleyan’s 2009 graduates, the university also honored several outstanding faculty members during the May 10 ceremony.

  • Richard F. Spall Jr., Ph.D., professor of history, received The Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award.
  • Danielle R. Hamill, Ph.D., associate professor of zoology, received The Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for the Encouragement of Teachers.
  • Erin E. Flynn, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy, was awarded the Libuse L. Reed Endowed Professorship, named in honor of emeritus professor “Libby” Reed, a faculty member in the Department of English from 1951 to 1984.

For friends and family unable to attend Ohio Wesleyan’s 2009 commencement ceremony, the event was streamed live online. It remains available at stream.owu.edu.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.