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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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While at the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) 2016 National Assembly in Austin, Texas, Jordan Mitrik, senior public relations major and Chapter vice president of Waynesburg University PRSSA, participated in and was awarded first place at the “Day-of Competition.” 

“I was in complete shock that we won,” said Mitrik. “I was confident in our presentation and knew my team had some really innovative ideas, but I knew all the Day-of partici-pants were really strong and we had some pretty big competition. I was extremely excited and it was a great start to a fantastic National Assembly!”

The “Day-of Competition” is an annual contest that takes place at the PRSSA National Assembly. Those who register are placed in groups with students from other colleges and universities. Each group, based on the prompt given, must work together to develop a public relations campaign for the competition’s client. 

At the end of one hour, each team presents its campaign to a panel of judges, composed of current public relations professionals. After deliberation, a winning team is chosen to receive certificates, as well as a monetary prize. Winners are announced and presented their prizes at the National Assembly’s opening ceremony.

“Participating in the Day-of Competition exposes PRSSA members to a competitive en-vironment and allows them to work with fellow public relations practitioners with whom they are not familiar with,” said Mitrik, who is also firm director of Red Brick Communi-cations, the University’s Nationally Affiliated student-run public relations firm. “It really aids in strengthening your problem-solving skills and your ability to work with a team under pressure. As future professionals, these are all invaluable skills to possess.”

This year, participants were responsible for creating a year-long promotional plan for the United States Tennis Association that would advertise tennis as a sport for all ages. This promotional plan was to include all communication and advertising efforts, as well as demonstrate adherence to a $2,500 budget.

Fellow Waynesburg University PRSSA chapter members Megan Bayles and Maura Fenske also participated in the Day-of Competition. 

This year’s Day-of Competition winning team consisted of seven students: 

  • Brooke Tait, Brigham Young University 
  • Emily Cristales, California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Krista Watson, Loyola University Chicago
  • Mariana Roldán Carlos, Universidad de Medellín
  • Erica Everett, University of South Florida
  • Elizabeth Frattarole, West Virginia University
  • Jordan Mitrik, Waynesburg University

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_WS-Stage---Balcony-Shot---541552_10205228366163472_7363951503342158215_n.jpgWaynesburg University will host the Gross National Product’s (GNP) 46th Anniversary Concert Saturday, April 23. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center on the campus of Waynesburg University. Admission is free, and doors open at 7 p.m. Reservations are not necessary.

GNP is a spring musical reunion for original band members and area musicians. Performers include Waynesburg University faculty, staff, students and alumni. The band first performed on the Waynesburg campus in 1970. 

GNP was formed in the mid-1960s in New Jersey. Original band members, who will perform together at the concert, include Bill Molzon, director of TV operations at Waynesburg University, Scott Buttfield, Tom Minson, Charlie Behrend and Jeannie Clark Fisher.

“This year’s show includes a variety of musical styles ranging from contemporary and classic rock, to bluegrass and country, to jazz,” Molzon said. “The musicians look forward to seeing each other and to performing for such a loyal audience. It’s a big show in a small town.” 

“It’s a multi-faceted event,” said Molzon. “In addition to being a concert for the campus and the community, it’s an educational opportunity for the school’s TV students. They use the school’s TV production truck to feed the wall monitors in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center. The chair of the communication department, Richard Krause, supports this type of learning experience.”

For more information or directions to the Goodwin Performing Arts Center, call 724-852-3270.  

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Waynesburg University’s Colleges Against Cancer club will host its ninth annual Mini Relay for Life Sunday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the University’s Johnson Commons. The public is cordially invited to attend the event and participate in the myriad of activities scheduled throughout the day.

Mini Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which also serves to promote awareness about cancer and honor cancer survivors and those who have lost their lives after battling the disease. According to Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of Student Services, the money raised will benefit programs in Greene County such as cancer research, Road to Recovery, cancer prevention and others.

The theme of the Mini Relay is “Relay Around the World.” Activities new to the event this year include a balloon artist and a magician. The day will also feature an opening ceremony, karaoke, choir and dance performances and survivorship hour. 

“[Mini Relay] is a great way to educate, promote awareness and honor survivors and lost loved ones,” said Hardie.

Hardie said the fundraising goal for this year’s event is $20,000, which can be reached through online fundraising done by the various relay teams in addition to money raised during the event itself. 

The 2016 Mini Relay for Life officers are:

  • President: Nicole Zimmel, a senior early childhood education major from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania (Slippery Rock Area High School)
  • Vice President: Allison Cote, a junior early childhood education major from Brewer, Maine (Brewer High School)
  • Survivorship Chair: Megan Bayles, a senior public relations major from Carmichaels, Pennsylvania (Carmichaels Area School District)
  • Event Chair: Makayla Vidosh, a senior early childhood education major from Gallaway, Ohio (Hilliard Bradley High School)
  • Online Chair: Chelsey Withers, a junior public relations and communication major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (North Hills High School)
  • Fundraising Chair: Samantha Christensen, a junior biology pre-med major from Carmichaels, Pennsylvania (Alpha Omega Academy)
  • Education Chair: Kristen Wilson, a senior secondary chemistry education major from Washington, Pennsylvania (Washington High School)

For more information, contact Hardie at khardie@waynesburg.edu or 724-852-3461.

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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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