Dr. Joyce Cuff to deliver Thiel College Commencement address on May 6

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Dr. Joyce Cuff, professor of biology and Paul M. Rike Professor of Life Sciences, will serve as keynote speaker at Thiel College’s commencement at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 in the college’s William A. Passavant Center.

Cuff, who is retiring from Thiel College after 30-plus years of teaching, has a plethora of accomplishments, honors and professional, academic and philanthropic activities to her credit, including assisting in the development of Thiel’s neuroscience program; co-authoring a book with Dr. Curt Thompson (“God and Nature: A Theologian and a Scientist Conversing on the Divine Promise of Possibility”); serving as adviser to Tri-Beta (national honorary society in biology); coordinating the Earth Day workshops for local school children; and serving on numerous college committees and as faculty chairperson and assistant academic dean—among many others.

Cuff spent her year-long sabbatical last year in northern Tanzania, working to establish a laboratory attached to a health clinic in the village of Karatu and serving the health needs of more than 10,000 new and continuing patients.

She has received numerous fellowships, grants and honors, including Professor of the Year at Thiel in 1993, 2001 and 2012, a Fulbright Award and many others. She serves the large community as a member of the boards of UP—Unlimited Possibilities (a nonprofit committed to service locally and globally that she also co-founded), Shenango River Watchers and Mercer County Affordable Housing.

Cuff was appointed to the Thiel faculty in 1981, became an associate professor in 1985 and was promoted to full professor in 1991. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Regis College in Massachusetts and received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester Medical School. A native of Manchester, N.H., Cuff plans to return to Tanzania and continue her work there after retirement.

Also during the ceremony, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Baker will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Dr. Robert H. Baker has provided medical care in the Greenville area for nearly 60 years. He is a partner in Greenville Orthopedic Association, Inc.

After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., with a bachelor’s degree in 1946 and a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1947, Baker served his internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lancaster and his residency at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colo., and St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., where he also was a professor of military science and tactics from 1951 to 1952.

During that time, he served in the original M.A.S.H. unit in Korea and in several hospitals in Germany as a major in the Army Medical Corp. He began his private practice in 1955 in Greenville, Pa., with John L. Thomas, M.D. He later opened Greenville Orthopedic Association, Inc. in 1976. His current partners are John P. Scullin, M.D., and Stuart D. Anderson, M.D. Baker was an orthopedic volunteer teacher for CARE-Medico in Nigeria in 1963 and 1966 and Algeria in 1964.

For more than 40 years, Baker served as team physician and adviser to the Thiel College Department of Athletics. With caring, devotion and dedication, he helped generations of Thiel student-athletes maintain their health and wellness while striving to improve their performance. While he has stepped back from the position in recent years, his practice still serves as the College’s “team physician.” Moreover, he has been enmeshed in the life of Thiel College through taking classes, attending lectures and events, and forming relationships with faculty, staff and students. He was honored in 2002 with the A. Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award and was named Tomcat Football Game Day Honoree (as part of Greenville Orthopedic Association, Inc.) during the 2009 season.

Baker is a member of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine, American Society of Arthroscopic Surgery and American Academy of Physicians and Surgeons. He currently volunteers time with the Children’s Aid Society of Mercer County, is a trustee emeritus at The Butler Institute of American Art and belongs to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenville. He is a former member of the Thiel College Board of Trustees and the Greenville School Board of Education. Baker lives in Greenville.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college 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. The College is also home to a new Master of Science in speech-language pathology and 2Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program.A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.