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William Kitson, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland

Jennifer Evans receives the Milton T. Baldwin Prize

Baldwin Wallace University Class of 2013 Celebrates Commencement

More than 1,000 graduating students were the first to receive diplomas from a renamed Baldwin Wallace University at the insititution's 163rd Commencement ceremonies over the weekend.

William Kitson, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, spoke to 813 undergraduate students, their family members and friends on Sunday, May 12, while Brian Tucker, publisher and editorial director of Crain's Cleveland Business, delivered the address at the Saturday, May 11 graduate ceremony. Both men received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University.

This commencement weekend is the first since Baldwin-Wallace College became Baldwin Wallace University on July 1, 2012 and the first presided over by BW President Robert C. Helmer, who is wrapping up his first year at the helm of the institution.

Undergraduate Address Focuses on Service

At the undergraduate ceremony, which was forced indoors to Ursprung Gym due to unseasonably cold temperatures and wind, Kitson applauded the assembled graduates for being part of a generation that is willing to serve. "You volunteer more, you speak out more, and work together more than any other generation in a very long time... Keep it going!"

Kitson opened and closed his address by referencing "We're All in this Together," the theme song from the Disney movie, "High School Musical," which was released when the Class of 2013 was in high school. Kitson reminded the graduates to remember the students who weren't able to attain a college degree or even high school diploma, and to "bring everyone along."

"My generation has fallen short; your generation can do better," he said. "Get this right and our society can enter another golden age."

Honors for an Accomplished Group of Undergraduates

During the undergraduate ceremony, Jennifer Evans was announced as the winner of the the Milton T. Baldwin Prize, which is given to the student with the highest GPA in the graduating class. Evans also was one of 8 graduates recognized as the 2013 Outstanding Seniors. Others receiving this honor were Rebecca Kapusta, Joe Luchsinger, Cory McComas, Marika "JoBeth" Roll, Alissa Smith, Richard Teel and Elise Wallis.

More than 200 of the Class of 2013 graduated with honors: 49 earning summa cum laude recognition with a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher; 87 graduated magna cum laude with a 3.75 GPA and while another 87 earned cum laude honors, with a 3.60 GPA.

Graduate Commencement & Baccalaureate Addresses

Delivering the address at Saturday's graduate degree ceremony, which also took place in Ursprung Gymnasium, Tucker told 223 graduates that there is a danger in the economic crisis facing newspaper journalism. 

"Without a robust daily newspaper, I fear many of us will not know the important information we need," he said. Calling journalism "incredibly important for democracy," Tucker urged the graduates to read the news every day. "Be the smartest person in the room; be that person who knows a little bit about a lot of things." 

Thomas Sutton, BW professor of political science and recent winner of The Exemplary Teacher Award addressed graduates attending the Sunday morning Baccalaureate service at the Kulas Musical Arts Building.  

Replay Ceremony Online; View Photos

BW provided a live webcast of both commencement exercises, which are now available for replay viewing online at this link: http://www.bw.edu/webcast/. Photo galleries of the events will be posted on the Baldwin Wallace University Facebook page as batches of photos are processed. Check for updates.

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