BW honored the achievement of more than 850 graduates over the weekend at the University's 165th Commencement ceremonies.

Baldwin Wallace University Class of 2015 Celebrates Commencement

May 14, 2015

BW honored the achievement of more than 850 graduates over the weekend at the University's 165th Commencement ceremonies.

Deborah D. Hoover, president and CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, addressed undergraduates on Sunday, May 10, while Bill Priemer, president and CEO of Hyland, creator of OnBase, spoke at the Saturday, May 9 graduate ceremony.

Both Hoover and Priemer were presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, and BW President Robert C. Helmer personally congratulated each graduate as they walked the stage to mark the college graduation milestone in front of family and friends.

Priemer Urged Graduate Students to be Superheroes

Hyland's Priemer, who heads up the second largest ECM (enterprise content management) company in the world, urged 180 graduate students gathered in Ursprung Gymnasium on Saturday, to aspire to live as “superheroes” with four crucial traits. “Extraordinary ability, moral conviction, a mission to serve, and courage,” Primer said, “propel superheroes to do things that couldn't or wouldn't have been accomplished otherwise, and make them great in the eyes of the rest of us.”

“You know,” he said in closing, “that in reality there is no Superman who's going to come along and save us, and you know that any force for good, or force for change, will have to come from you.”

First BW Physician Assistants Graduate

Saturday's ceremony also featured the first students to graduate from BW’s Physician Assistant (PA) program as BW conferred Master of Medical Science degrees to the first 17 students to complete the University’s 24-month PA coursework and clinical rotations.

Hoover Encouraged Undergrads to leverage the “Secret Ingredient”

At the undergraduate ceremony, held on Mother’s Day Sunday and moved inside to Ursprung Gymnasium, Hoover used her address to inspire nearly 680 graduates to leverage entrepreneurship, the “secret ingredient” in their education.

“Combined with other disciplines, entrepreneurship acts as a galvanizer, an accelerant, a catalyst,” Hoover said while praising BW for integrating entrepreneurship instruction across campus. The president and CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a champion of entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio, also urged the graduates to mine “the buried gold that often emerges at the intersection of clashing ideas.”

“Your Baldwin Wallace education has given you the ability to look for ideas that are not the obvious ones and to combine concepts from many disciplines,” she said. “While innovative ideas are critical, they will remain just that—ideas—until married with entrepreneurial skills that can bring them to life.”

A Rare Tie for Top Academic Honors With 22 Grades of A+

Two students, who earned perfect 4.0 GPAs, received the Milton T. Baldwin Prize in a rare tie for the award given to the graduate with the highest academic achievement at BW. Both students, Thomas Kasper, a finance and economics major from North Olmsted, Ohio, and Jessica Ziegler, mathematics major from Medina, Ohio, each earned 22 A-pluses during their BW academic careers.

The Class of 2015 also included more than 220 high-achieving students who graduated with honors: 54 earned summa cum laude recognition with a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher; 96 graduated magna cum laude with at least a 3.75, while another 74 earned cum laude honors with at least a 3.60.

Super Seniors Applauded for All-Around Excellence

Nine graduates were recognized as 2015 Outstanding Seniors for overall excellence and contributions to campus life including academics, leadership, service and involvement on and off campus.

The 2015 graduating seniors acknowledged for demonstrating excellence in all areas of their University endeavors are: Benjamin Brown, a neuroscience and chemistry major from Columbia Station, Ohio; Alayna Chlad, a communications disorders major from Kent, Ohio; Courtney De Schepper, an education major from Ansonia, Ohio; Annette Fetter, a public relations major from Stow, Ohio; David Flegal, an accounting and finance major from Akron, Ohio; Brianna Razzante, an education major from Solon, Ohio; Audrey Smolik, an education major from Strongsville, Ohio; Doanise Thompson, a sociology major from Lorain, Ohio and Amanda Van Gilder, an international studies and Spanish major from Fairlawn, Ohio.

Carrying on Traditions and Looking to Changes in the Future

Also part of commencement weekend was the traditional Sunday morning Baccalaureate service at the Kulas Musical Arts Building, followed by a festive President’s Reception in the Union – open to all graduating seniors and their families.

Another BW tradition, The White Rose Ceremony, recognized select young women and honored Philura Gould Baldwin, granddaughter of BW founder, John Baldwin. And, for the 100th year, the Senior Class added a distinctively colored ribbon to the "ring of ribbons" that ties BW grads together from generation to generation.

For future BW graduates, the traditions continue, but the timing of commencement is evolving. Beginning in December, BW will celebrate graduation twice a year, at the end of both the fall and spring semesters combining undergraduate and graduate commencement exercises into a joint Saturday ceremony.