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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_4-5-Lucas-Hathaway.jpgThree Waynesburg University faculty members received the 2016 Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Awards during the University’s chapel service Tuesday, April 5.

The Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Awards are presented annually and include three awards. One recognizes a faculty member with a history of teaching excellence, a second recognizes a faculty member with teaching excellence in introductory subjects and the third honors a part-time faculty member at any Waynesburg University site.

Dr. Christopher Cink, professor of biology and chair of the University’s Department of Biology, Environmental Science and Athletic Training, received the 2016 Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Award for a faculty member with a history of teaching excellence.

A student nomination stated, “His passion for the field is one of a kind. He always goes above and beyond to help students succeed and achieve their goals. He takes extra time out of his day to help students with any questions or concerns they may have. Whenever you call, he is there for you.”

Another nomination noted that Cink is “a wonderful person with a very big heart.”

Cink joined Waynesburg University in 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Baker University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Paul Sielski, professor of mathematics, received the 2016 Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Award for a faculty member with teaching excellence in introductory subjects.

A nomination stated that he “helps students overcome their math phobia and move forward in their academic careers.”

Sielski, who joined the University in 1988, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, in addition to a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Timothy McCullough received the 2016 Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Award for a non-full-time faculty member. He is a lecturer of business in the University’s master of business administration program.

“He draws on a wealth of experience not just from his own career, but from teaching this course for the institution over the years,” a nomination stated.

A nomination noted that Waynesburg University is blessed to have him as a part-time faculty member and that his course deserves an A+.

McCullough earned a bachelor of science in business administration from Waynesburg University and a master of information systems from Robert Morris University. He is the director of human resources for the Canon-McMillan School District in Canonsburg, Pa.

The Lucas-Hathaway Charitable Trust has established an endowed fund that provides two annual teaching excellence awards for full-time faculty members and one award for a part-time faculty member. Faculty members were nominated by students, faculty or alumni. Each recipient received a commemorative plaque and a $1,200 award. The Trust is funded by J. Richard Lucas and C. Joan Hathaway Lucas, members of the class of 1950.

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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 will host its annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Work Symposium on Thursday, April 14, at 6 p.m. in the Marsh Center (Roberts Chapel, ground floor). The event is open to the public and will feature 46 student presenters, including two podium presentations and 22 poster presentations.

“The symposium is a sharing and celebrating of student’s individual contributions of discovery to their respective fields of study,” said Dr. Chad Sethman, associate professor of biology and symposium organizer.

The event will begin with a reception followed by the podium presentations at 6:30 p.m. The poster presentations will then be held from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Topics will cover a wide range of research and scholarly work in the fields of biology, chemistry, forensic science, history and nursing from Waynesburg University junior and senior students.

“Research-based scholarship, whether it culminates from laboratory-based, literature-based or experiential-based research, enhances student’s proficiency at providing innovative solutions to novel problems,” said Sethman.

For more information, contact Sethman at 724-852-3265 or csethman@waynesburg.edu.

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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