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b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_6914.jpgThe Rev. Dr. Richard E. Visser and D. Raja were awarded honorary Doctor of Humane Letter degrees during Waynesburg University’s commencement exercises Sunday, May 1.

Visser is a Baptist minister with more than 40 years of service and Raja is the co-founder and chairman of Computer Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a leading national firm providing cutting edge information technology solutions.

The degrees were conferred upon Visser and Raja for the ways in which they parallel Waynesburg University’s mission of faith, learning and serving.

Members of the Waynesburg University Board of Trustees presented the recipients and assisted with investitures.

The following citations were read:

Rev. Dr. Richard E. Visser

Rev. Dr. Richard Edgar Visser, in recognition of your steadfast commitment to the Christian faith and to all those you have so diligently served, taught and guided through the years, Waynesburg University honors you.

A distinguished reverend, teacher and leader, your voice has influenced and motivated people throughout our nation. Your heartfelt service to the numerous communities you have served has set you apart as an outstanding role model and inspirational leader in religion, family life and community.

Your extensive scholarly work and ministry have laid a foundation for others to seek Christ and become servant leaders in today’s world. This is especially evident through your esteemed work in religious education through your involvement in the American Baptist Church Leadership Institute of Western Pennsylvania.

Your unwavering allegiance to building better communities radiates from your widespread experience in organizations such as the Community Foundation of Greene County, American Red Cross and American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware. For your devotion to service, shown in your desire to always put the needs of others before your own, we graciously commend you.

It is because of the meaningful and extensive impact you have made through your life’s work that we are pleased to recognize and honor you.

In sincere gratitude and respect for your achievements and for the ways in which you share Waynesburg University’s mission of faith, learning and serving, it is with distinct honor that we confer upon you our degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

D. Raja

D. Raja, in recognition of your passion for excellence, as evidenced by your astute leadership through a career in consulting and management practice, Waynesburg University honors you.

As a recipient of the 2007 Smart Business Pacesetters Award for Chief Executive Officer Excellence, you have served as an example to young men and women who aspire to excel in their chosen careers.

Your sharp business acumen and polished leadership skills shine brightest in your work with Computer Enterprises, Inc. Your unwavering dedication and knowledge to the fields of politics and communication are evident through your successful business- and finance-focused radio show.

Your demonstrated experience speaks to a high level of professional development and a desire for continued education. These characteristics align with Waynesburg University’s drive to instill a passion for lifetime learning coupled with faith and service.

Your commitment to servant leadership rings clear through your involvement with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, ensuring Pennsylvania students and families that a higher education is both affordable and accessible to all. 

Your strong ambition, influential career, and moral and business philosophies serve as examples to Waynesburg University students as they prepare to become the leaders and scholars of tomorrow. 

For your enthusiasm to better the lives of others through service and mentorship, Waynesburg University appreciates you.

For your incredible work ethic, genuine leadership ability and continued drive to live a life of purpose, it is with great honor that Waynesburg University confers upon you our degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_0479_20160501-213709_1.JPGWaynesburg University held its 163rd Commencement exercises Sunday, May 1, honoring approximately 550 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

D. Raja, co-founder and chairman of Computer Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), delivered the Commencement Address, “What’s Important in Life?,” during which he shared the story of his own humble beginnings, his evolution into a servant leader and the importance of reputation. 

“Reputation is the basis of leadership, no matter the job,” he said. “And reputation is the reflection of your character. Well, your character is only known to you. But your reputation is the reflection of your character through your words, actions and deeds.”

He also encouraged gradates, assuring them that everyone faces adversity at times, and that success can still be achieved through their reaction to that adversity.

“The older I get, the more convinced I am that success in life is not so much what happens to us, it is how we respond to what happens to us. We have the power to choose our response.”

b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_6804.JPGThe following graduates were named valedictorians:

  • Kayla Diane Bleckley
  • Jessica Marie Marabello

Marabello delivered the valedictory to the University on behalf of the valedictorians. Lance Hyde, a graduate of the Master of Business Administration Program from Cranberry Township, Pa., represented the graduate program students.

Two graduates, Charles Lee Cook, a biology (pre-dental/medical/veterinary) major from Cheswick, Pa., and Aaron Berkley Palmer, a sports management major from Leesburg, Va., were commissioned Second Lieutenants in the Army of the United States of America during the Commencement ceremony.

Prior to the commencement exercises, the Rev. Dr. Richard E. Visser, a retired Baptist minister with more than 40 years of service, delivered the Baccalaureate Address, “Being Salt and Light.”

“In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus tells His followers that they are ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world,’” Visser said. “In today’s brutal world, that is your calling. As salt can enhance and improve the flavor of food, you can improve the ‘flavor’ of people’s relationships and attitudes.”

b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_6567.JPGVisser suggested “four D’s” through which to be effective salt and light in today’s world: depend on God to guide and sustain you, discover your spiritual gifts, determine where you can best use your spiritual gifts and do what you can. 

The University awarded the following degrees to graduates:  Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail__OR_0207.JPGWaynesburg University held its annual commencement exercises honoring approximately 550 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students Sunday, May 1.

Kayla Diane Bleckley, a creative writing major with a minor in psychology from Latrobe, was named one of two valedictorians of her class. She is the daughter of William and Diane Bleckley.

“To be named valedictorian alongside another extraordinarily hardworking Waynesburg University student is an honor I am blessed and privileged to receive,” said Bleckley. “Though I am extremely proud to be one of the Class of 2016 valedictorians, I consider my accomplishment a testament to the constant support and opportunities my parents have worked tirelessly to provide for me and the high quality of educators found at this institution.”

As a student, Bleckley was a staff member of Waynesburg’s literary magazine, “Muse & Stone,” most recently serving as the student executive editor. She was vice president of the University’s Upsilon Delta Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society as well as a member of the Lamplighters Concert Choir and the Waynesburg University Honors Academy.

She was the recipient of the A.B. Miller Scholarship and the Margaret Bell Miller Scholarship. During her studies, she received the James E. Garvin and Caroline Parkinson Garvin Prize in Humanities in 2014, in addition to the Waynesburg University English Department Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.

“I think the liberal arts education I received at Waynesburg has been essential in helping me determine what vocation I feel called to pursue and in providing me with the resources to be successful,” said Bleckley.

Bleckley plans to obtain a master’s degree in counseling and pursue a vocation as a certified counselor.

Jessica Marie Marabello, a mathematics (secondary education) major from Pittsburgh, was also named valedictorian and delivered the valedictory to the University.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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The Waynesburg University Lamplighters Touring Choir will serve in Morristown, N.J., from Monday, May 2, through Sunday, May 8, and use their singing talents to benefit others. During the weeklong trip, the 16 students will perform seven concerts at various Christian schools, senior care centers and retreat centers to share the Good News of Christ.

Apart from singing, the students will also be completing renovations as well as painting and cleaning at the Loyola Jesuit House in Morristown. Melanie Catana, director of choral music at Waynesburg University, Dr. James Bush, professor of mathematics, and Nelson Fox, the choir’s pianist, will serve as trip leaders.

“Our main objective for this mission trip is to practice being a servant leader like Christ,” said Catana. “I want the students to bring life to the works they do for other people. Through our devotions and service, I want them to become closer to God.”

The Lamplighters Touring Choir have served various locations around the country for more than 50 years, originating back to 1961. James “Fuzzy” Randolph, who founded the Lamplighters, decided to take the group during its first year to sing at local Greene County churches. The act of using the choir’s musical abilities to make a positive impact continued and has since developed into a University mission trip.

Students participating in the trip include:

  • Allie Christopher, freshman exercise science major from Carmichaels (Carmichaels Area School District)
  • Kayla Goncalves, sophomore music ministry major from Boca Raton, Fla. (Olympic Heights Community High School)
  • Amelia Graves, junior English major from West Falls, N.Y. (Orchard Park High School)
  • Katie Kondrick, sophomore history major from Cheswick (Fox Chapel Area High School)
  • Austin Orth, senior computer science major from Meyersdale (Lighthouse Christian Academy)
  • Stephen Patula, freshman music ministry major from Kazard, Ky. (Hazard High School)
  • Kelsey Prough, freshman forensic science major from Altoona (Altoona Area Senior High School)
  • Rebecca Rosser, senior music ministry major from Sweet Valley (Lake-Lehman High School)
  • Lydia Rostosky, junior music ministry major from McMurray (Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School)
  • Briana Ryan, freshman music ministry major from Monongahela (Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School)
  • Jonathan St. Laurent, senior communication (sports broadcasting/sports information) major from Aliquippa (Mount Lebanon High School)
  • Veronica Steen, freshman biblical ministry studies major from Trenton, N.J. (Bordentown Regional High School)
  • Stephanie Tress, senior forensic science major from McMurray (Canon-McMillan School District)
  • Robert Tyler Turbett, freshman engineering major from Boyertown (Brandywine Heights Area High School)
  • Lori Williams, senior human services major from Mount Clare, W.Va. (Bridgeport High School)
  • Lingen Yogo, junior mathematics major from Washington (Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School)

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Ten Waynesburg University students will travel to Eustis, Florida, from Wednesday, June 8, through Tuesday, June 14, to serve Camp Boggy Creek, a camp that serves children aged 7 to 16 who have been diagnosed with chronic or life-threatening conditions. The trip will be co-led by Jennifer Shiring, nurse director of student health services, and Amy Wilson, student health care nurse at Waynesburg University.

The participating students and faculty will serve as cabin counselors for the weeklong service trip. In this capacity, they will take care of the daily needs of the 10 campers in their perspective cabins. They also will have the opportunity to lead by example and provide an exciting and empowering experience for the campers.

“I am looking forward to interacting with the campers,” said Shiring. “Most of my nursing background has been spent caring for children. I love the mind of a child as they grow and develop.”

Since this is the University’s first service trip to Camp Boggy Creek, founded in 1996 by actor Paul Newman and U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Shiring anticipates that the students will leave with a deeper understanding of the challenges children suffering from illnesses face every day and recognizing they made a positive impact on others.

“I hope they have a wonderful experience, make new friends as well as return knowing they were able to help provide a normal childhood experience to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity,” said Shiring.

Students participating in the trip include:

  • Mikayla Amick, junior nursing from Bloomsburg (Home School)
  • Holly Bachman, junior athletic training major from Butler (Knoch Senior High School)
  • Marian Chearney, sophomore nursing major from Normalville (Connellsville Area Senior High School)
  • Gabrielle Coy, freshman public relations major from Clymer (Penns Manor Area High School)
  • Sydney Green, sophomore nursing major from Farmington (Uniontown Area Senior High School)
  • Amanda Lucas, freshman exercise science major from Penn Run (Penns Manor Area High School)
  • Abbie Miller, junior athletic training major from Red Lion (Red Lion Area Senior High School)
  • Kelby Rudash, sophomore nursing major from Maidsville, W.Va. (Waynesburg Central High School)
  • Grace Sumney, freshman nursing major from Bentlyville (Bentworth Senior High School)
  • Natalie Vincent, junior nursing major from Houston (Chartiers-Houston High School)

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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