Thiel College Celebrates 135th Commencement
249 students earn degrees
May 5, 2009
GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College granted Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees to 249 men and women during Sunday’s commencement exercises in the college’s William A. Passavant Memorial Center. One honorary doctorate was also presented.
Thiel College President Dr. Robert C. Olson ’60 welcomed the graduating class, parents and friends. Olson, who is retiring in July, provided the keynote address and received an honorary doctorate of humanities. He also conferred degrees and distributed diplomas.
Olson’s address, “Revisiting the American Dream,” used historical perspective to focus on what the “American Dream” should mean and how it should be redefined in light of current and past economic, social and political upheavals. He charged the class to define their pursuit of the American Dream by the principles found in the Declaration of Independence.
Dr. James Shaffer, professor of psychology, of Greenville, Pa., retired at the end of the academic year and was honored with emeritus status during the Commencement ceremony.
Four students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages—Heather Jane Gratzmiller of Monroeville, Pa., Jamie Leigh Kuhn of Cabot, Pa., Daniel William Morrison of Cortland, Ohio, and Kristin Elaine Skelley of Greenville, Pa.—earned valedictorian honors for 2009 and one student—David Gregory Nypaver of Williamsfield, Ohio—was named salutatorian with a 3.9752 grade point average.
Gratzmiller graduated summa cum laude, an honor presented to students who have earned a grade point average of 3.8 or higher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education as well as departmental honors in education.
Kuhn graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and business administration. She earned both the Dean’s Key, which is given to those named to the dean’s list for eight semesters, and departmental honors in accounting and business administration.
Morrison graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice studies and sociology. He earned departmental honors in criminal justice studies and sociology, and also was awarded the Dean’s Key.
Skelley graduated summa cum laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She received the Dean’s Key as well as departmental honors in political science.
Nypaver graduated summa cum laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received departmental honors in education and history, and was also a recipient of the Dean’s Key.
Senior Class President Russell Brown of McKeesport, Pa., offered greetings from the graduating class and presented the class gift—a tree to adorn Sister Katherine’s Walk and a patio garden to be located outside of Roth Hall.
Jennifer Wilfong of New Brighton, Pa., delivered the senior address “Deal or No Deal.”
Dr. Mervin E. Newton, interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, presented the class for degrees. Dr. Chris Moinet, professor of English, led the procession as faculty marshal. The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ng’weshemi, college pastor, provided the invocation and benediction. Special music was provided by members of the Thiel Choir under the direction of Dr. Michael Bray. Kathryn A. Gray, adjunct professor of music, served as accompanist.