Heidelberg announces 2014 commencement speakers

Feb 27, 2014

Heidelberg University graduating seniors will have the opportunity to hear the Acting Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak deliver the 2014 commencement address on May 11.

The Board of Trustees approved the slate of speakers for the undergraduate and graduate commencement and baccalaureate services during its meeting Feb. 22.

Lushniak articulates the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the entire nation. He also oversees the operation the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, made up of about 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world. He began serving as acting surgeon general in July 2013 after having served as deputy surgeon general since 2010.

Lushniak has been affiliated with the U.S. Public Health Service for more than 30 years, initially stationed with the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati. In 1990, he completed a residence in dermatology at the University of Cincinnati. During his time at CDC, he also served on special assignments and disaster response activities in Bangladesh, St. Croix, Russia and Kosovo and at Ground Zero as a part as part of the team investigating the anthrax attacks in Washington, D.C.

In 2004, he became the chief medical officer of the FDA’s Office of Counterterrorism, rising to assistant commissioner in 2005. He was deployed after Hurricane Katrina as the Department of Health and Human Services’ representative to San Antonio.

Lushniak earned his bachelor’s degree in medical sciences and his medical degree from Northwestern University. He earned his master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. A firm believer in leadership by example, Lushniak promotes maintaining an active lifestyle through biking, running and hiking.

Delivering the address at Graduate Commencement on Saturday, May 10, will be Nancy Ditmer, director of bands and professor of music education at The College of Wooster. A highly respected and devoted leader in music education for many years, she is currently president and board chair of the National Association for Music Education and past president of the Ohio Music Education Association.

Ditmer received her bachelor’s degree from Capital University and her master’s degree from the University of Iowa, where she also has completed work toward her doctoral dissertation in music education. She is the founder and director of the Wooster Music Camp for junior high and high school students.

Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes, president of the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, will provide inspiration during Baccalaureate Sunday morning, May 11. Widely recognized as a dynamic leader in the field of theological education, she served as a faculty member and administrator at Memphis Theological Seminary before assuming her current role at United Theological Seminary. Throughout her career, she has been active with homeless missions, HIV/AIDS ministries and international ministries in Kenya and Japan.

Holmes earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and master’s degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary and Southern Connecticut University. Her Ph.D. degree is in religion from Vanderbilt University. She also holds her Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University.

Admission to undergraduate commencement is by ticket only.