Waynesburg University’s annual Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises will be held Sunday, May 18, on the campus of Waynesburg University. The celebration will honor approximately 600 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
The Rev. Thomas M. Hall II, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, will present his message, “Where Have All the Heroes Gone?” at the Baccalaureate service. Laura E. Ellsworth, partner at Jones Day, an elite international law firm, will address the Class of 2014 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.
Graduates will have the opportunity to reflect on their personal and academic journeys as they experience the day’s momentous events. The Baccalaureate and Commencement speakers will offer inspirational guidance as each member of the Class of 2014 begins a new chapter in his or her life. Families are encouraged to arrive early, as the Commencement processional begins approximately 20 minutes prior to the ceremony.
Both Ellsworth and Hall 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.
The Rev. Thomas M. Hall II
Hall is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Since being called to the church in 2009, Hall’s passion for the heart of Pittsburgh has advanced the region in spirituality and sustainability.
He is president of the Pittsburgh Downtown Ministerium and is on the board of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Hall also serves on the Bethlehem Haven Board and the Council of the Metro-Urban Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh.
A retired Air Force colonel, Hall began his military career in 1974 after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. In the military, he served as an intelligence analyst and as a headquarters staff officer. His international experience includes chairing the 15-nation NATO Electronic Warfare Advisory Committee and commanding the 11th Operations Group. Rev. Hall’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal. In 2004 he completed a 30-year career in the Air Force as a full colonel.
The esteemed leader earned a Master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a master of divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Laura E. Ellsworth
Named one of Pennsylvania’s “Best 50 Women in Business,” Laura Ellsworth practices as a partner at Jones Day, an elite international law firm.
She serves as the vice chair of the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and on the boards of Imani Christian Academy, Governor Tom Corbett’s appointed Council on Privatization and Innovation, and the Allegheny Conference on Economic Development.
Ellsworth is partner-in-charge of the Jones Day Pittsburgh office. She has been involved extensively in electronic discovery and currently serves on the Jones Days’ e-Discovery Committee. Since joining Jones Day in 1992, she has practiced a wide range of complex commercial litigation including high-profile, multi-jurisdictional product liability and bankruptcy cases.
She has been named one of the best lawyers in America for commercial litigation and was recognized as a "leader in her field" by Chambers USA in 2009. Ellsworth was recognized as a "leader in the law" by the Legal Intelligencer and as one of the top female litigators in Pennsylvania by Pennsylvania Law Weekly.
Ellsworth received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1980, then graduated magna cum laude with her Juris doctorate in 1983 from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her bar admissions in the state of Pennsylvania.
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