Alumni ranks grow with 300 new grads

About 300 undergraduate and graduate students joined the ranks of more than 12,000 alumni and others whose lives have been shaped by Heidelberg during commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 9.
 
“Today is a day of enormous pride as we recognize the achievements of today’s graduates,” said Interim President Dr. Jim Troha, who asked the graduates to take a step back and reflect on their collective contributions and their class’s legacy to the university.
 
During their freshman orientation four years earlier, Troha asked them to begin to consider how they would make a difference at Heidelberg, and what mark they would make on the institution.
 
“Today, some of those questions have been answered,” he told the graduates. “You have undoubtedly left a legacy for all of us to value, by your hard work, commitment and perseverance.”
 
He encouraged them to enjoy and appreciate their degrees, but warned, “With knowledge comes responsibility.”
 
“That responsibility should be joyous. And as an alum, you represent all that is good about Heidelberg University – the faculty, the staff, and all the students who have come before you and who will come after you,” Troha said. “But ultimately, you represent yourself.”
 
He told the students that they now face a fork in the road. Their newly acquired skills and intelligence will enable them to succeed, but their integrity and character will inspire others and enable them to “stand out and stand tall.”
 
In all, 49 students received master’s degrees in business administration, counseling and education. Eighty-two students received the bachelor of arts degree, 161 received the bachelor of science degree and eight received the bachelor of music degree.
 
Graduates, families and friends, trustees, faculty and staff heard commencement remarks from activist and advocate Eugene “Gus” Newport, an alumnus from the Class of ’58. The former mayor of Berkeley, Calif., said he was pleased to return to campus to the same spirit and friendly atmosphere that greeted the kid from Rochester, N.Y., in the mid 1950s.
 
“That provided for me a foundation that made me feel I belonged,” said Newport, whose career took roots in the Civil Rights movement. His career has spanned such topics as teaching, neighborhood planning and development, economic development and youth employment and training. His contributions have been on a national and international stage.
 
Heidelberg presented Newport with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
 
Also receiving an honorary doctorate was the Rev. Robert Molsberry, keynote speaker for the baccalaureate service preceding graduation. Molsberry is the Ohio Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ.
 
Senior political science major Keenan Jones, who served as Student Senate president this year, was selected to represent the senior class as its speaker. His remarks were aptly titled “If You’re Waiting on Me, You’re Backing Up.”
 
Heidelberg also welcomed President-elect Dr. Robert Huntington as a guest at commencement. Huntington was on campus for the spring Board of Trustees meeting. He begins his tenure as president July 1.

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May 11, 2009