Waynesburg University held its 167th Commencement exercises Sunday, May 5, honoring more than 400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from the Waynesburg campus as well as the University’s additional sites in Cranberry, Penn Center East and Southpointe.
Stacey Olson, president of Chevron Appalachia, LLC, delivered the Commencement Address.
Responsible for leading Chevron’s operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, Olson was instrumental in helping to establish the Chevron Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at Waynesburg University. The Center seeks to build a network of practitioners in the region dedicated to sharing best practices in corporate social responsibility work.
During her commencement address, Olson urged graduates to consider the question, “Why be ordinary?,” sharing that the extraordinary path is often the path to one’s fullest potential.
No matter what situation you’re in, my goal today is to get you to choose to take the extraordinary path.”
“No matter what situation you're in, my goal today is to get you to choose to take the extraordinary path. The challenging, the uncomfortable, the unexpected, and the unpredictable path. And if you’re already on that path, I want you to keep going. The people here with you today, and on this stage, want you to achieve your fullest potential. And I think the extraordinary path is the way to get there.”
Sharing examples from her own life, Olson offered the following advice to graduates: get used to being uncomfortable, reject stereotypes, think a while before saying no, and choose to be a good citizen.
“You have chosen to attend a University that is dedicated to community service and leadership,” said Olson. “I know you are a select group of servant leaders committed to making a positive impact on the world. As you set out on your path, I hope you will continue to embrace your commitment to yourself, your family, your community and the world.”
Austin Joseph Pinkerton, a nursing graduate from Cookstown, New Jersey, was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Army of the United States of America during the ceremony.
The following graduates were named valedictorians:
- Caitlin E. Brooks from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
- Kayla R. Coughlin from Buena Park, California
- Cassandra K. Kemp from Confluence, Pennsylvania
- Amanda M. Lucas from Penn Run, Pennsylvania
- McKenzie Shaffer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Elizabeth M. Sible from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Sible offered the valedictory to the University on behalf of the valedictorians. Bethany Marie Taylor, a graduate of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program, represented the graduate program students.
Prior to the commencement ceremony, the Rev. Dr. James Gilchrist delivered the Baccalaureate Address, “To Tell The Truth.”
For nearly 30 years, Rev. Gilchrist served as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, most recently at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, until his retirement earlier this year. Gilchrist currently teaches in the Doctor of Ministry program at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and at Carnegie Mellon University.
Rev. Gilchirst explored the effects and consequences of “sweet little lies” over the ages, from within the Book of Genesis to contemporary examples in today’s society.
“Our relationships depend on speaking the truth to one another in love, the vitality of our country and the peace and stability of the whole world depend on our commitment to knowing what’s true and doing what’s right,” Rev. Gilchrist said.
The University awarded the following degrees to graduates: Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
About Waynesburg University
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 one of only 22 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.
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