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Waynesburg University’s annual Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises will be held Sunday, May 1, on the campus of Waynesburg University. The celebration will honor approximately 520 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. 

The Rev. Dr. Richard Edgar Visser will serve as the Baccalaureate speaker, and D. Raja will address the Class of 2016 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 Raja and Visser 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_4-6-Visser.JPGRev. Dr. Richard Edgar Visser

Visser was ordained at the First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Massachusetts in 1962.

He has been the minister for several churches in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine, serving at the First Baptist Church in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, until his retirement in 2003.

Since then, Visser has been in co-ministry with his wife, Rev. Carol Edwards Visser, at various churches in Pennsylvania and Maine. He is currently the resource minister, along with Carol, for the York Baptist Association and a member of the council of the American Baptist Churches of Maine (ABCOM) Institute for Ministry.

His esteemed career has led him to receive numerous awards, including the Excellence in Ministry Award from the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (ABCOPAD). Together, he and Carol were recipients of the Alderson Broaddus College Apollo Award, Gordon College Jack Good Community Service Award, Brunswick (Maine) Downtown Association Volunteers of the Year award and Greater Waynesburg Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Community Service Award.

Visser was involved with the ABCOPAD for fourteen years, as a board member and board president, in addition to being a local ministerial president and association moderator. He also served on board for the Washington Health System Greene (then Greene County Memorial Hospital), the Greene County Department of Human Services, the American Red Cross and the Community Foundation of Greene County.

Visser made a lasting impact in Greene County through his involvement with the American Baptist Church Leadership Institute (CLI) of Western Pennsylvania, of which he was the co-founder and chairmen for ten years. 

He completed two degrees at Gordon College, along with two master’s degrees at Gordon Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry at Asbury Theological Seminary.

b2ap3_thumbnail_4-6-Raja.jpgD. Raja

In 1992, Raja launched his own consulting and project management practice, a venture that was to become Computer Enterprises, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based computer software company. He currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. 

Raja is past president of the Mt. Lebanon Commission, past president of TiE Pittsburgh's business mentoring roundtable, founding chair of the University of Pittsburgh Computer Science Industry Board, judge for Carnegie Science Awards for Entrepreneur categories and judge for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. 

In addition to his entrepreneurial efforts in Pittsburgh, Raja is a constant presence in Pittsburgh politics and communication. He hosts a business- and finance-focused radio show, “The Raja Show,” on KDKA.

For his commitment to the profession and socially responsible corporate leadership, Raja was the recipient of the 2007 Smart Business Pacesetters Award for Chief Executive Officer Excellence. Raja was also recognized as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 and the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Carnegie Science Center in 2009. He also received the Diamond Award for the Region’s Leading CEOs and Presidents for large business in 2008 from Pittsburgh Business Times.

Raja holds a master's degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Anna University, India.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_3-23-Southpointe-CEO-Award.jpgWaynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee has been selected as a co-recipient of the Southpointe CEO Association’s World Class CEO Award for 2016.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Southpointe CEO Association in this way,” said Lee. “This award reflects the dedication of the entire Waynesburg University community. Together, we bring life to our mission of inspiring and challenging our students to pursue lives of leadership and purpose.”

Lee, along with co-recipient Charles Keller, senior counsel at the law firm of Peacock Keller, will be honored Thursday, June 16, at a dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe. 

“President Lee provides the leadership of Waynesburg University through his commitment to our mission,” said Heidi Szuminsky, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations. “His passion for our students is extraordinary. He truly embodies our mission, and the numerous accolades received by the University during his tenure are a result of his leadership.”

Lee joined Waynesburg University as executive vice president in October 2009. He was unanimously elected president of the University by the Board of Trustees in September 2012 and took office July 1, 2013. Prior to Waynesburg, Lee was a partner in the Law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC, where he worked for nearly 20 years. He also established and sold a multi-line insurance business after college graduation.

Under Lee’s leadership, Waynesburg University has received national attention for the economic outcomes of its graduates. The University is a Pittsburgh Business Times “Best Place to Work for 2015” and recognized internationally as one of the most beautiful Christian college campuses in the world by Christian Universities Online. 

In March 2015, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaccredited Waynesburg University for a 10-year period. Currently, Lee is leading the $23 million revitalization of the Paul R. Stewart Science Hall, which is creating a state-of-the-art academic facility for the sciences.

Lee was named to The Pennsylvania Business Central's Top 100 People list of 2013 and has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®. He is an elder at the Presbyterian Church, has served on the Greene County Planning Commission and is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia and the FBI Citizens Academy. 

He is an Eagle Scout, has served on the Executive Board for the Mountaineer Area Council Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the Fort Jackson Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. He has also served on the Boards of the Union Rescue Mission in Fairmont, W.Va., the Harrison County Bar Association, the Westminster Foundation of West Virginia and Howe Cemetery. He was a volunteer fireman, serving as line officer and executive officer.

An endurance athlete, Lee is a finisher of three Ironman Triathlons and six marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon and Death Valley Marathon.

Located south of Pittsburgh, the Southpointe CEO Association is supported and directed by CEOs in the Southpointe business park. In keeping with the public-private partnership that gave birth to Southpointe, the association brings local, national and international leaders together for informative events and works with government officials on all levels to build upon and expand the region's business success.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_3-22-Charter-Day---Gilchrist.jpgWaynesburg University celebrated the 166th anniversary of its charter by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Tuesday, March 22. The celebration was held in the University’s Roberts Chapel.

Introduced by Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, the Rev. Dr. James Gilchrist, senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, served as the Charter Day speaker. 

In his convocation address, “The Deep Logic,” Gilchrist said that every -ology, whether it be biology, meteorology or psychology, reflects something of the Word of God.

“A well-educated Christian finds connections in the deeper logic of things,” Gilchrist said as he shared examples of early modern scientists who were also devout Christians, citing great minds like Isaac Newton, who wrote almost as much about the Bible as physics, and Galileo Galilei, who was a devout Catholic.  

Gilchrist also urged the upcoming generation of leaders to do a better job than those before them.

“The world desperately needs the kinds of qualities that are cultivated at a truly Christian university,” he said. “I hope that you find those qualities here, and I hope that you go out and share them with the world.” 

During the convocation, Lee presented Gilchrist with the University’s A.B. Miller Leadership Award in recognition of Gilchrist’s exemplary spiritual and social leadership.

“In honor of the public spirit exemplified by former Waynesburg University President Alfred Brashear Miller and in recognition of your embodiment of the highest principles of this institution, Waynesburg University honors you,” said Lee.

b2ap3_thumbnail_3-22-Charter-Day---Beiter.jpgThe award cited the ways in which Gilchrist has foreseen the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. 

Gilchrist’s outreach through mission work has led him to travel throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. Recently, he traveled with members of Westminster to Malawi and India. Gilchrist is a regular participant in the Council on Foreign Relations Workshop on Religion and International Affairs.

He teaches in the Doctor of Ministry program at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University and Dickinson College.

Also during the ceremony, Lee conferred upon Charles Beiter the title of professor emeritus of English. Beiter, who joined the University in 1966, retired from his full-time position in May 2015.

“For nearly 50 years, you have devoted yourself through a number of roles and service on countless committees, leading and inspiring students, colleagues, administration and the Waynesburg University community as a whole,” Lee said of Beiter. “Today, we recognize you as a highly respected educator and acknowledge all the ways that you have challenged and encouraged your students to lead lives of purpose.”

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_3-17-CUPRAP-Award.jpgWaynesburg University has received two 2016 CUPPIE Awards from College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP), one gold and one bronze, for its in-house production of the Annual Report and the admissions newsletter. 

The University was awarded a Gold CUPPIE for its 2013-2014 Annual Report, and Bronze for the December 2014 issue of its admissions newsletter, “Unscripted.” 

“We are thrilled that our University Relations team was honored with this award,” said Heidi Szuminsky, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and University Relations. “Their commitment to excellence shines through in every publication they produce, but the recognition of this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication the team puts into every single aspect of their craft. We are proud of the job they’ve done and continue to do.”

The awards were presented at an awards dinner Thursday, March 10, at Hotel Hershey, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

This year, CUPRAP received 380 entries for the CUPPIE awards.

CUPRAP is a voluntary organization of communications professionals from colleges, universities and independent schools dedicated to advancing the understanding of higher education and enhancing the professional development of its members. Members come from private and public colleges and universities, junior colleges, community colleges, independent schools, as well as other organizations involved in higher education.

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_1-28-50-Christian-Colleges-with-the-Lowest-Debt-Burden-copy.jpgWaynesburg University has been recognized once again for value, ranking No. 12 on a national list measuring low debt burden among Christian colleges and universities nationwide.

The list, “The Top 50 Christian Colleges & Universities with the Lowest Debt Burden,” was published by Christian Universities Online (CUO), an independent online resource for prospective students and their families researching Christian higher education. 

Featuring Christian liberal arts colleges and universities whose 2014 graduating class had the lowest average debt burden, this ranking seeks to provide useful data to parents and students who are endeavoring to make an informed decision in choosing the best Christian institution to meet their needs, according to CUO’s website.

“Understanding that the long term impact which student loan debt can have on a graduate, this ranking attempts to highlight schools that have done an excellent job in caring for their students not only academically, but also financially,” stated CUO’s associate editor Anna-Rebekah Orr.

CUO compiled their ranking by examining publicly available data from U.S. News & World Report on institutions of higher education that are members or member eligible of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), using the “average total indebtedness of the 2014 graduating class” to rank the schools. 

This ranking follows Waynesburg’s recent recognition as a top value in several other studies, including those conducted by The Brookings Institution, CollegeNET, The Economist and Educate To Career (ETC).

Brookings scored institutions of higher education based on the value the colleges added to student outcomes, ranking Waynesburg University higher than 92 percent of 1,666 four-year colleges analyzed.

CollegeNET’s national Social Mobility Index rates schools based on how well they help students improve their economic status. Ranked at No. 66, Waynesburg University was the only school in Pennsylvania to break the top 100 on the national list.

Waynesburg University also ranked in the top 100 nationwide in The Economist’s recently released, first-ever college rankings, which measured four-year, non-vocational American colleges based on alumni earnings above expectation.

ETC’s outcome-based index has consistently ranked Waynesburg University a top value college. ETC describes its rankings as an effort to deliver on the promise of the federal government’s College Scorecard by providing “actual college outcomes data.”

For more information, visit www.waynesburg.edu/ranking.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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