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Waynesburg U. announces 2022 commencement speakers

Apr 1, 2022

Waynesburg University will hold its annual Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, on the campus of Waynesburg University.

The Honorable D. Brooks Smith, Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Laural Ziemba, Director of Public Affairs at Range Resources, will address the Class of 2022 as the Commencement speakers, and Marilyn West, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of M.H. West and Co., will serve as the Baccalaureate speaker.

Two Commencement ceremonies will be held over the two days on the Lawn of Miller Hall, honoring more than 400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from the Waynesburg campus as well as the University’s additional site in Southpointe.

Ziemba will speak at the Graduate and Professional Studies ceremony at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and Smith will speak at the undergraduate ceremony at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Baccalaureate Service will be held at 11 a.m. in Roberts Chapel.

Graduates have been given the opportunity to participate virtually if they are unable to attend in person. Virtual participants will be honored at the in-person ceremony with their name announced and their photo shown on a large outdoor screen. Baccalaureate and the two Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed, available online at

For more information, visit or email

About the Speakers

D. Brooks Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Judge

D. Brooks Smith is a Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  He has served on the Third Circuit since 2002 and was Chief Judge of that court from October 2016 to December 2021. Judge Smith is the only judge in the history of the Circuit to have served as both a chief district judge and chief circuit judge. Prior to his elevation to the Third Circuit, Judge Smith was the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  He joined the District Court in 1988.

Judge Smith has served by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States on the Judicial Conference of the United States (JCUS) Space and Facilities Committee, concluding a three-year term as chair on September 30, 2016. In the 1990s, he served on the JCUS Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the JCUS from 2019 to 2021.

While on the federal bench, he has participated in various rule of law programs in a number of Eastern European Countries. Formerly as an adjunct professor at Penn State Law, Judge Smith taught a seminar on class actions. Now, as a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the law school, he also teaches a course on Judicial Decision-Making which addresses the role of the courts and judges in our system of governance. In 2016, the law school presented Judge Smith its first “Leadership Award,” and, in 2017, Penn State presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

He currently chairs the Third Circuit’s “Courts, Community and Rule of Law” Committee. That committee’s work is aimed at improving public understanding of the role of the judicial process in American society and how it is essential to the rule of law in a democracy.

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Smith was a judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Pennsylvania; District Attorney of Blair County, Pennsylvania; and the managing partner in the law firm of Jubelirer, Carothers, Krier, Halpern and Smith. 

He resides in Altoona, Pa., with his wife of more than 40 years, Karen.

Laural Ziemba, Director of Public Affairs at Range Resources

Laural Ziemba, Director of Public Affairs at Range Resources, represents the company through its working relationships with the communities in which Range operates. Her responsibilities include directing the company’s public outreach efforts, including the company’s corporate partners program and local government initiatives.  Laural’s career has been primarily spent in the energy industry, having held similar positions at other Pittsburgh-region exploration and production companies. 

Ziemba is a graduate of Duquesne University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a graduate of Waynesburg University, where she earned a Master of Business Administration.

Ziemba is a member of the board of directors for the Southwest Corner Work Force Development Board, the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Washington Health System Foundation, the finance council for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Washington County 2000 Turkeys Food Drive Campaign. In 2016, Ziemba was the recipient of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce Young Athena Award and in 2015, she was a recipient of the Pittsburgh Business Times Women in Energy Leadership Award.

Ziemba currently lives in Cecil Township, Washington County with her husband, Chad, and nine-year-old daughter, Leah. 

Marilyn West, Founder, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of M.H. West and Co.

Marilyn West is the founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer of M.H. West and Co., a Richmond, Virginia, based planning and consulting company with specialization in management, education and planning services. West and her team have served clients ranging from government agencies to large corporations and school systems. West also provides coaching, life skills and entrepreneurial services for organizations and individuals, notably in the health care and education industries.

In addition to being a member of Waynesburg University’s Board of Trustees, West serves on the boards of Ferrum College; the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Chair); Virginia 21; Venture Richmond (Executive Committee); Growth and Opportunity Board (GO Virginia), Commonwealth of Virginia; Senior Center of Greater Richmond, Inc. (Chair); Mercy Bon Secours Virginia Health Foundation; Certificate of Public Need Task Force (Governor Northam Appointee); and the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Member).

West received Waynesburg University’s Margaret Bell Miller Leadership Award in 2009 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Waynesburg University.

West is married to Edward G. West and has two adult children, Meaghan Brittany and Brennan Elliott, and two grandchildren, Reagan and Daniel Jr.

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.

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