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Leaders in higher education to be recognized at Thiel College’s 144th Commencement


Leaders in higher education to be recognized at Thiel College’s 144th Commencement

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Internationally-recognized expert in the Amish and Mennonite traditions Donald Kraybill, Ph.D., will address graduates of Thiel College, a leading liberal arts college in northwest Pennsylvania, during the College’s 2018 Commencement Exercises at 2 p.m. May 6 in the William A. Passavant Center.

Kraybill will be awarded an honorary degree, and Shirley Roels, Ph.D., will also be awarded an honorary degree. Roels has directed the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, a set of more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities supported by the Lily Foundation that together engage their institutions in the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation.

During the Exercises, former Thiel College Professor of English Mark DelMaramo, Ph.D., will be granted faculty emeritus status. DelMaramo passed away in 2017 from cancer. He had taught at Thiel College for than 25 years.

“We are honored to welcome two respected and accomplished honorary degree recipients to our 144th Commencement Exercises,” President Susan Traverso, Ph.D., said. “Our gathering together as a community will also give us an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of a respected member of our faculty who left us too soon. Commencement is a special time for our community as we take time to recognize our students and their milestone achievement.”

Kraybill is the Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. Internationally recognized for his work on the Amish and Mennonite traditions, Kraybill is the author of more than 18 books and dozens of peer-reviewed and popular articles. His books have been translated into six languages, and his research has been featured in magazines and newspapers across the country. In 2012, he served as senior consultant for the PBS show, “The American Experience: The Amish.”

Roels received her doctoral degree in higher education administration from Michigan State University. At Calvin College, she chaired the Department of Economics and Business, became an academic dean, and then directed the college’s comprehensive Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation. Roels received a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in education, communications and social sciences. Roels has become an influential leader in higher education, supporting private colleges and universities to develop programs that engage students around themes of vocation and purposeful life work.

About 2,000 friends and family of the graduates along with Thiel College faculty and staff are expected to attend the Commencement exercises. Prior to Commencement, a Baccalaureate service will be held at 10 a.m. in the David Johnson Memorial Chapel on campus.

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Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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