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175th Anniversary

University celebrates Charter Day, recognizes faculty in milestone 175th year

Mar 19, 2024

Waynesburg University celebrated the 175th anniversary of its founding Tuesday, March 19, with a special convocation in Roberts Chapel.

Rev. Dr. Thomas Hall II, retired U.S. Air Force colonel, retired pastor and University trustee, delivered the convocation address, “Miracle of the Light.”

Rev. Dr. Thomas Hall II
Rev. Dr. Thomas Hall II

“The God who spoke light into creation has spoken light again into your heart,” said Rev. Hall. “Therefore, we are to live in that light, and you are in one of the best possible places anywhere to do that. God made you part of the miracle that is Waynesburg University. You have chosen to grow in faith and to learn and to serve so that you might transform your community and the world.”

As he explored 2 Corinthians 4:6, Rev. Hall encouraged attendees to see the world in the light of Jesus Christ.

“You cannot understand Jesus Christ in the light of the world, you have to see the world in the light of Jesus Christ, and at Waynesburg University, the light of Jesus Christ shines brightly,” Rev. Hall shared.

Prior to the convocation address, Dr. Robert Randolph, Professor of English, read a poem titled “Let There Be Light.” Dr. Randolph wrote the poem to commemorate the University’s 175th anniversary.

Following the convocation address, Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee conferred upon Dr. Richard Leipold the title of Professor Emeritus of Computer Science.

Dr. Leipold retired in 2023 after teaching at Waynesburg for more than 30 years in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science & Physics.

“Over the course of 32 years, our University community has been inspired by your thoughtful approach to teaching and the unique atmosphere you facilitate within your classroom,” President Lee read from the award citation.

“Through your leadership roles, you have earned the respect of students and faculty alike. Instrumental in the creation of new majors and courses, you have helped define the evolution of the computer science programs at Waynesburg University,” he continued.

During the convocation, three faculty members received the University’s 2024 Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Awards. Provost Dr. Dana Cook Baer presented the teaching excellence awards to Todd Hamel, part-time lecturer of computer science; William Stough, Program Director for the Master of Business Administration and Associate Professor of Business Administration; and Christian Hayes, Assistant Professor of Biology, Director of Marine Science, Au Sable Institute Faculty Representative.

In addition to being the 175th anniversary of the founding of Waynesburg University, 2024 also marks the 10th anniversary of Waynesburg University President Lee’s inauguration. A servant leader at heart, Lee has led Waynesburg University in fulfillment of its mission since beginning his tenure as president a decade ago.

During the Charter Day ceremony, President Lee was presented with two Congressional Commendations by Jarrett Niecgorski, a field representative with Congressman Guy Reschenthaler’s Office, both of which were read on the House floor prior to being presented.

In a surprise tribute to President Lee, Stacey Brodak, vice president for Institutional Advancement and University Relations, introduced and shared a video comprised of remarks from members of the Waynesburg University Board of Trustees, honoring and thanking President Lee for his ten years of service.

“When our team realized that 2024 would not only mark the University’s 175th anniversary, but also President Lee’s 10th anniversary, we couldn’t let the year pass without recognizing the great blessing he has been to Waynesburg University. We secretly went to work, knowing he is so humble, to seek the best voices to highlight his service.”

About the Charter Day speaker

In 2004, Rev. Dr. Thomas Hall completed a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force, retiring with the rank of colonel as the Chairman of the Leadership and Ethics Department at the Air War College. His military career included experience in flying operations, reconnaissance, intelligence, flight test, headquarters staff, international duty, and three command assignments.

Following his three-decade military career, Rev. Hall and his wife, Jana, moved to Pittsburgh so he could attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. It was their 19th move. Last year, he retired after serving nearly 15 years as a senior pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh.

Rev. Hall holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Master of Science Degree from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Waynesburg University for his distinguished contributions to his congregation, his community, and his country, and is a member of the Waynesburg University Board of Trustees.

Rev. Hall and his wife, Jana, have two sons and five granddaughters and will celebrate 50 years of marriage this year.

About Waynesburg University

Consistently ranked a best value school, Waynesburg University’s Strategy for the 21st Century affirms its commitment to developing an entrepreneurial mindset and ethical leadership skills for all students. Rooted in its mission of faith, learning and service, the private, Christian university is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with an additional site for graduate and professional programs in Southpointe.

175 Years of Light

The year 2024 marks Waynesburg University’s 175th Anniversary. The theme of the year-long celebration, “175 Years of Light,” focuses on honoring the University’s mission as well as its motto, “fiat lux,” or “let there be light.” This milestone year is a time for reflection, but also a time for great anticipation as the WU community together looks forward to the next 175 years while celebrating generations of students, faculty and staff pursuing lives of leadership and purpose for the glory of God.