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Ohio Wesleyan University Graduates 383 Students in Class of 2011
Political Scientist Mary E. King, OWU Class of 1962, Tells New Alumni to Use Educations to Help Others

May 10, 2011

Mary E. King, OWU Class of 1962.
Photo by Doug Martin
DELAWARE, OH – Prize-winning author and political scientist Mary E. King delivered the keynote address May 8 at Ohio Wesleyan University’s 167th commencement ceremony, urging the 383 graduates to seek empowerment and fulfillment by helping others.

“In many universities, students spend four years on social networking, organizing their web of contacts for future climbing of the totem poles, polishing their address books, planning their financial portfolios,” said King, a 1962 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, international authority on nonviolent political movements, and central figure in the contemporary U.S. women’s movement. “This to me is not empowerment … and I don’t think that’s likely to bring much fulfillment.

“I suggest instead 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, protection of the environment,” King continued.

“More conflicts today are ended by negotiated settlement than by military victories,” she said. “Today’s generations across the world are showing great interest in becoming peacemakers. … They want to change the way their societies operate, end injustices, achieve freedom and equality.

“You can join this worldwide swell of the power of youth,” King concluded. “The empowering education that you achieved and received at Ohio Wesleyan can be your GPS. It will orient you on a road to tangible results for the human race and fulfillment and gratification for yourself.”

OWU President Rock Jones, Ph.D., echoed King’s sentiments when he 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 the university’s traditional benediction message. “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.”

In addition, Alina Ruzmetova, president of the Class of 2011, an international studies and economics double major from Pataskala, Ohio, encouraged her classmates to dream big and act upon those dreams.

“We have just begun our journey toward leadership and accomplishment, and our experience at OWU helped each of us to chart a course for our own personal quest,” Ruzmetova said. “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 can now go and make a difference in the world.”

Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2011 included 64 cum laude graduates, 36 magna cum laude graduates, 19 summa cum laude graduates, and two graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

During the outdoor ceremony, the university also awarded King an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. She is a professor of peace and conflict studies at the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace; a distinguished scholar with the American University Center for Global Peace in Washington, D.C., and a Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

From 1984 to 1993, King served as a special adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, acting as his personal emissary to political and business leaders in the Middle East, and she continues to assist his peacemaking efforts. As deputy director of ACTION from 1977 to 1981, she directed national volunteer service corps organizations including the Peace Corps and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Following her OWU graduation, she worked alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to support civil rights efforts.

Watch Ohio Wesleyan’s 167th annual commencement ceremony online, see photographs, and more.

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan earned a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in General Community Service, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.