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Class of 2019 marks BW's 169th Commencement

Baldwin Wallace University marked the milestone of college graduation - both an ending and a beginning for 739 graduate and undergraduate students - on Saturday, May 4 in the Lou Higgins Center.

Showery, cool weather outside could not dampen the joy of family and friends, faculty and staff, who came together in the decked out Ursprung Gymnasium to celebrate BW's 169th Commencement ceremony.

Before each member of the Class of 2019 was recognized on stage and congratulated by President Bob Helmer, graduates heard inspirational words from commencement speaker Akram Boutros, M.D., FACHE, president and CEO of The MetroHealth System.


Dr. Akram Boutros, President and CEO of MetroHealth, delivered an inspiring BW Commencement address on "Choices."Dr. Boutros inspired the audience with an address focused on "Choices" that can make all the difference in life.

He encouraged the graduates to choose to "stop listening to the voice that says you're not good enough" and to "stand up to those doubts."

Boutros also urged them to "choose your comrades in life wisely. They will shape your life in profound ways."

Finally, he advised grads to "choose to follow your heart" when it comes to career and avoid climbing the ladder without being focused on values and work that is a "higher calling."

"You don't make a difference because you have a corner office or a fancy title," Boutros said. "You make a difference because you love what you're doing."

"Choose as if your life depended on it," Boutros advised in closing. "Because it does."

Following the keynote, BW awarded the Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree to Boutros, whose distinguished time at MetroHealth has seen a visionary revitalization of both the hospital's main campus and the surrounding Cleveland West Side neighborhood.

Academic firsts and honors

The ceremony also marked the graduation of 10 students representing the inaugural class of BW's Master of Public Health program, offered in partnership with MetroHealth.

Special recognition for high-achieving members of the Class of 2019 started with Julia Rose Halamek, who posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average en route to earning two degrees, a B.A. in history and a B.S. in biology, received the prestigious Milton T. Baldwin Prize, given to the graduate with the highest academic achievement at BW.

An impressive number of undergraduate students graduated with honors: 65 earned summa cum laude recognition with a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher; 72 graduated magna cum laude with at least a 3.75; while another 76 earned cum laude honors with at least a 3.60. Elite groups of students in the Dayton C. Miller Honor Society and the Honors Program were also applauded.

Super Seniors

The Baldwin Wallace University "Class of 2019" celebrates commencementTen graduates were recognized as 2019 Outstanding Seniors for overall excellence and contributions to campus life including academics, leadership, service and involvement on and off campus.

The 2019 graduating seniors acknowledged for demonstrating excellence in all areas of their University endeavors are: Gwyn Dubel, Peyton Flasco, Jeremy Foust, Joshua Gunter, Clara Harb, Kevin Hartenstein, Andrew Henthorn, Danielle Hill, Isabel Ison and Alexandra Winkelfoos.

BW Senior Class Officers were also recognized: President Joshua Gunter, Vice President Kevin Hartenstein, Secretary Corrinne Horvath and Treasurer April Fletcher.

Pomp, Circumstance and Tradition

Steeped in cherished traditions, BW Commencement Day also included a Baccalaureate service at the Kulas Musical Arts Building that featured special music by students and an inspiring address by Dr. Amy Jo Sutterluety, associate dean, School of Health, Physical Education and Sport Sciences and professor of sport sciences.

BW 2019 grads celebrated at the President's Reception.Baccalaureate was followed by the President's Reception in the Strosacker Hall union ballroom - giving all graduating seniors and their families, faculty and staff a chance to mingle, snap photos and enjoy a spread of heavy appetizers and desserts.

Another longstanding custom, The White Rose Ceremony, recognized select young women while honoring Philura Gould Baldwin, granddaughter of BW founder, John Baldwin. She helped establish the BW library and the University's brown and gold colors.

During "the main event," 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 their upcoming 50-year golden reunion during "Alumni Encore," members of the Class of 1969 will renew their colors on the Ring of Ribbons.

Live stream replay and photos

President Bob Helmer presides over Baldwin Wallace University's 169th Commencement ceremony - May 2019Congratulations to the Class of 2019 graduates who now take their places among 48,000-plus BW graduates or "Yellow Jackets for Life" (YJ4L) who have come before them since the school's founding in 1845.

BW has preserved memories of your big day in several ways. You can watch a Boxcast replay of the big ceremony at the link below. To view and download general photos after the ceremony, visit BW on flickr. Please note: a free flickr account is required to download photos. You can also visit the BW Facebook page the week following commencement to view photos from the event.

Graduates may also may order professional photos from GradImages, which captures photos and sends proofs directly to each grad. Contact GradImages at (800) 261-2576 or with any questions.

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