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Waynesburg University’s annual Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises will be held Sunday, May 3, on the campus of Waynesburg University. The celebration will honor approximately 730 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

The Rev. Dr. Peter J. Paris, the Elmer G. Homrighausen professor emeritus of Christian social ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary, will serve as the Baccalaureate speaker. The Most Rev. David A. Zubik, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, will address the Class of 2015 as the Commencement speaker.

Baccalaureate services will be held in Roberts Chapel at 11 a.m., and Commencement will be held on the front lawn of Miller Hall at 2 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the Commencement ceremony will be held in Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse.

Families are encouraged to arrive early, as the Commencement processional begins approximately 20 minutes prior to the ceremony.

Both the Rev. Dr. Paris and Bishop Zubik will be honored during the Commencement Ceremony with honorary degrees, Doctors of Humane Letters, for the ways in which their lives and personal missions relate to the mission of Waynesburg University.

b2ap3_thumbnail_peter-j-paris-12.jpgRev. Dr. Peter Paris

In addition to Princeton Theological Seminary, the Rev. Dr. Paris has also taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn., Howard University School of Divinity in Washington D.C., Union Theological Seminary in New York City, N.Y., and Harvard University Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. He has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from both Boston University and the Society of Christian Ethics.

He has been elected to several national offices, including the presidencies of the American Theological Society, the Society of Christian Ethics, the Society for the Study of Black Religion and the American Academy of Religion.

The Rev. Dr. Paris has published several books including “Black Religious Leaders: Unity in Diversity;” “The Social Teaching of the Black Churches;” “The Spirituality of African Peoples: The Search for a Common Moral Discourse;” and “Virtues and Values: The African and African American Experience.” 

He has authored numerous academic journal articles and book chapters and edited several books. He is the general editor of a series with New York University Press on religion, race and ethnicity, and he continues to lecture and teach widely throughout the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, India and Brazil.

The Rev. Dr. Paris was ordained in the African United Baptist Association of the Atlantic Baptist Convention of Canada and has served churches in various roles in addition to his present role on the Freedom and Justice Advisory Committee of the Baptist World Alliance.

The Rev. Dr. Paris completed two degrees at Acadia University and earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Bishop David A. Zubikb2ap3_thumbnail_Zubik-Bishop-FORMAL-PHOTO.JPG

Bishop Zubik was ordained a priest in 1975 by Bishop Vincent M. Leonard at Saint Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh. In 1997, he was consecrated a bishop at Saint Paul Cathedral and was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In 2007, he was named the Twelfth Bishop of Pittsburgh by Pope Benedict XVI and was installed at Saint Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

Previously, he was named associate general secretary and chancellor of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and on January 1, 1996, became vicar general and general secretary bishop, a position in which he served until his appointment as the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

He has also served as parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, vice principal of Quigley Catholic High School, chaplain to the sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse, chaplain to the students at Mount Gallitzin Academy, adjunct spiritual director at Saint Paul Seminary and associate spiritual director at Saint Vincent Seminary, among other roles.

Bishop Zubik holds an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s degree in education administration from Duquesne University and a degree in theology from Saint Mary Seminary and University.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Headshot.jpgWaynesburg University held its annual commencement exercises honoring approximately 600 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students Sunday, May 18. Laura E. Ellsworth, a partner at Jones Day and vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, delivered the commencement address.

Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa., was named one of five valedictorians of her class. She is the daughter of Scott and Susan Berkebile of Friedens, Pa.

“I am incredibly grateful for the amazing people who have helped me to achieve this honor,” Berkebile said. “It is a blessing and truly shows how commitment and dedication pay off.”

During her studies at Waynesburg, Berkebile was vice president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and a member of the University’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) student group. She was a member of DRUS Honorary Society for women and served on the University’s Student Activities Board. 

Active in service, Berkebile attended two University service trips to Urban Promise Ministries in Camden, N.J., and participated in local service initiatives. She was a recipient of the A.B. Miller Scholarship, the Class Scholarship Award and the Outstanding Academic Excellence Award. 

“I have grown both mentally and spiritually during my time at the University,” she said. “Waynesburg has helped me to establish a solid foundation and a variety of skills that will help me to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Berkebile hopes to continue to grow professionally and ignite curiosity and a love for learning in young children. 

The 2014 Valedictorians include:

•Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa.

•Alyssa Brooke Crile, an early childhood education major from Washington, Pa.

•Daniel Vincent Czajkowski, a criminal justice administration major from Frederick, Md.

•Corin Rae Schipani, a digital design major from Duquesne, Pa.

•Hannah Michelle Szymanik, an early childhood education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9792.jpgWaynesburg University held its annual Commencement exercises Sunday, May 18, honoring approximately 600 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

Laura E. Ellsworth, a partner at Jones Day and vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, delivered the Commencement Address, during which she shared personal stories and words of wisdom from inspirational leaders including Mother Theresa and Maya Angelou.

Ellsworth urged graduates not to be afraid of failure, reminding them that people who have failed have learned to overcome obstacles.

“Failure makes us stronger and better,” she said. “It’s up to us to choose how we are going to learn from it.”

She also reminded graduates that every individual has the ability to bring something unique to the floor, no matter how junior or how senior they are.

“This is an obligation,” Ellsworth said. “The pace of change is astronomical, and it provides great opportunity. You have gifts to give.”

The following graduates were named valedictorians:

  • Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa.
  • Alyssa Brooke Crile, an early childhood education major from Washington, Pa.
  • Daniel Vincent Czajkowski, a criminal justice administration major from Frederick, Md.
  • b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9737.jpgCorin Rae Schipani, a digital design major from Duquesne, Pa.
  • Hannah Michelle Szymanik, an early childhood education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

Czajkowski delivered the valedictory to the University on behalf of the valedictorians. Elizabeth Hardy represented the graduate program students.

Two graduates, Samuel A. Lombardo, a criminal justice administration major from Canonsburg, Pa., and Ryan E. Walters, a finance major from Pleasant Unity, Pa., were commissioned Second Lieutenants in the Army of the United States of America during the Commencement ceremony.

Prior to Commencement exercises, Rev. Thomas M. Hall II, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, delivered the Baccalaureate Address, “Where Have All the Heroes Gone?” to graduates and their parents, during which he referenced Luke 8:26-39.

He urged graduates to let God step into their lives so that they can live out His calling.

“Heroes say ‘I will be who God calls me to be,’ in a world where others say ‘Be all you can be,’” Hall said.

He quoted Saint Catherine of Siena, stating, “Be who God wants you to be, and you’ll set the world on fire.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9321.jpgWaynesburg University awarded the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, the Master of Arts degree, the Master of Business Administration degree, the Master of Education degree, the Master of Science in Nursing degree, the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Bachelor of Management and Leadership degree, the Bachelor of Science degree, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, the Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology degree and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

To view photos from Baccalaureate and Commencement, visit www.waynesburg.edu/2014grads.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0191.jpgLaura E. Ellsworth, a partner at Jones Day and vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and the Rev. Thomas M. Hall II, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, were awarded honorary Doctor of Humane Letter degrees during Waynesburg University’s commencement exercises Sunday, May 18.

The degrees were conferred upon Ellsworth and Hall 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:

Laura E. Ellsworth, J.D.

Laura Ellsworth, for your wholly inspirational work ethic, as evidenced by a successful career in complex litigation and a multitude of professional posts, Waynesburg honors you.
Your commitment to advancing the state of professional law practice has spanned the globe in both accolades and experience, and your work is held in the highest regard in the Pittsburgh region.

As one of the “5o Best Women in Business,” you have served as an example to young women who wish to change the world. Through your notable publications and accomplishments, you have encouraged young people, including Waynesburg University students, to pursue lives of purpose.

Your demonstrated passion for justice and ethical leadership rings clear and mirrors the efforts of Waynesburg University to instill such admirable qualities in its students.

Your heart for service shines brightest in your work with the Imani Christian Academy as a board member and co-teacher. By uniting your love for the children at Imani and your passion for workforce development, you create opportunities for students at Imani to experience success.

Your authorship and 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.

For the ways in which you have illuminated issues of justice and fought for your moral convictions, Waynesburg appreciates you.

For your undeniable drive, genuine leadership ability and pronounced passion for the legal field, it is with great honor that Waynesburg University confers upon you our degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Rev. Thomas M. Hall II

Rev. Thomas Hall, in recognition of your unwavering commitment to the members of your congregation and all those you compassionately serve, Waynesburg University honors you.

Your passion for the heart of Pittsburgh has advanced the region in spirituality and sustainability. As your influence has shaped leaders and your words have molded Christians, so, too, have your hands helped form a city ripe with opportunity.

As you lead your community with quiet strength and example-based guidance, you create a space in which new leaders can mature and prosper. 

For your civic-minded allegiance and your talent for awakening non-believers to the wonders of Christ, Waynesburg University thanks you.

In your many years of patriotic support to your country, you served as an intelligence analyst, a chairman of the 15-nation NATO Electronic Warfare Advisory Committee and a commander of the 11th Operations Group. For your service to the United States of America as a retired Air Force colonel with many military decorations, Waynesburg University appreciates you.

Experienced and applauded by many, your civic engagement stands as an excellent example in conviction, leadership and service, the very components of a faith-based life that Waynesburg University encourages students to embody.

For your distinguished contributions to your community, your country and the Kingdom of God, it is with great honor that we confer upon you our degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9468.jpgWaynesburg University held its annual commencement exercises honoring approximately 600 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students Sunday, May 18. Laura E. Ellsworth, a partner at Jones Day and vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, delivered the commencement address.

Hannah Michelle Szymanik, an early childhood education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa., was named one of five valedictorians of her class. She is the daughter of Nancy and Lance Szymanik of Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

“It is an honor to be recognized as valedictorian, but it means more that I share this honor with four peers,” Szymanik said. “Being one of five valedictorians for the Class of 2014 reminds me I did not get to this position by myself. I could only accomplish the things I did because of the help I received from faculty, friends and family.”

Szymanik was one of approximately 15 Bonner Scholars in her class at Waynesburg University. As a Bonner Scholar, she completed eight to 10 hours of service to the community each week. She was also a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and was a resident assistant at the University.

In 2012, Szymanik traveled to the Republic of Ghana to teach children as a scholarship recipient of the Vira I. Hienz Program for Women in Global Leadership.

Szymanik is actively seeking an elementary teaching position in Pennsylvania or Virginia.

The 2014 Valedictorians include:

  • Kaitlyn Grace Berkebile, an early childhood education major from Friedens, Pa.
  • Alyssa Brooke Crile, an early childhood education major from Washington, Pa.
  • Daniel Vincent Czajkowski, a criminal justice administration major from Frederick, Md.
  • Corin Rae Schipani, a digital design major from Duquesne, Pa.
  • Hannah Michelle Szymanik, an early childhood education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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