BW graduate celebrates

During a day of ceremony and tradition, more than 640 graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff celebrated a pivotal academic and personal achievement.

BW Celebrates 166th Commencement

May 10, 2016

BW graduate celebratesBaldwin Wallace University recognized the achievements of more than 640 graduates at BW’s 166th Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7 in Ursprung Gymnasium.

Before they took a triumphant walk across the stage to receive congratulations, members of the Class of 2016, comprised of 525 undergraduate and 120 graduate students, were inspired by the words of Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger ’77, the former Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was tapped by President Obama last year to head up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“Lose the me and join the we”

Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger addresses spring 2016 BW graduatesNeffenger credited BW professors for helping him to “lose the me and join the we.” He challenged the assembled graduates to “think beyond career path and to consider the “hard challenges” and “messy business” facing society.

“The world needs people who ask and tackle hard questions, who think creatively, and who solve problems that resist formulaic or easy approaches,” he said. “You are not now, nor will you ever be, your job description—that is simply a gate pass.”

Following his address, Neffenger, an Elyria native and BW English major who went on to earn three master’s degrees, was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from BW.

Academic Honors

The ceremony also included special recognition for high-achieving members of the Class of 2016. Exercise Science major, Austin P. Stephan, who earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, received the prestigious Milton T. Baldwin Prize, given to the graduate with the highest academic achievement at BW.

BW President Robert Helmer congratulates 2016 graduateAn impressive 175 undergraduate students graduated with honors: 47 earned summa cum laude recognition with a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher; 53 graduated magna cum laude with at least a 3.75, while another 75 earned cum laude honors with at least a 3.60.

Students in the Dayton C. Miller Honor Society and the Honors Program were also applauded.

Super Seniors Applauded for All-Around Excellence

Ten graduates were recognized as 2016 Outstanding Seniors for overall excellence and contributions to campus life including academics, leadership, service and involvement on and off campus.

The 2016 graduating seniors acknowledged for demonstrating excellence in all areas of their University endeavors are: Elise Bigley, Julia Harris, Kelly Hoye, Ashley A. King, Biagio A. Niro, Abigail I. Snow, Madeline Southall, Nicholas G. Traverso, Kevin R. Warman and Melanie E. Winters.

BW Commencement Traditions

BW graduate is all smilesBW Commencement day also included a traditional Baccalaureate service at the Kulas Musical Arts Building that featured an inspiring address on “The Pursuit of Beauty” by Dr. Marc Vincent and special music. Baccalaureate was followed by a President’s Reception in the Strosacker Hall union ballroom– giving graduating seniors and their families, faculty and staff a chance to mingle, snap photos and enjoy a spread of heavy appetizers.

Another longstanding custom, The White Rose Ceremony, recognized select young women and honored Philura Gould Baldwin, granddaughter of BW founder, John Baldwin.

During “the main event,” for the 101st year, the Senior Class added distinctively colored ribbons to the "ring of ribbons" in a ritual that ties BW grads together from generation to generation and includes the colors of every graduating class since 1915. At Alumni Celebration, next Saturday, May 14, The Class of 1966 will renew its colors on the Ring of Ribbons as part of their "Golden Reunion."

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BW Spring 2016 Commencement