Cincinnati, OH -- Xavier University’s 173rd commencement ceremonies will be this Saturday, May 14 at the University’s Cintas Center. Separate ceremonies are held for undergraduate and graduate degree recipients to comfortably accommodate the graduates and their families. The undergraduate class will receive diplomas beginning at 9:00 a.m. Graduate degrees will be awarded at 3:00 p.m. No tickets are required and commencement is open to the public. A Baccalaureate Mass will be May 13 at 8:00 p.m. at The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains at the corner of 8th and Plum Streets in downtown Cincinnati. Xavier will confer 988 undergraduate diplomas and 1272 graduate diplomas. Media are welcome to cover both commencement ceremonies. Please enter the Cintas Center through the north loading dock.
Commencement Speakers and Honors
Charles Geschke will be the undergraduate commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree. From a young age, Geschke was strongly influenced by the Jesuit priests who guided his education. As he advanced through his career as co-founder and chair of Adobe Systems Inc., those early lessons never left him. He invoked the Golden Rule as the code of behavior for his employees. It has helped him steer Adobe to a $3 billion-a-year business with offices worldwide. It has been voted one of the best in America to work for, the second most-admired software company in America and one of the most generous philanthropic companies in America. Geschke earned a bachelor’s degree in classics and a master’s degree in mathematics from Xavier and taught math at John Carroll University before being drawn to computer science. He left teaching to earn a doctorate in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University. Geschke has served the community in a range of roles, including membership on the boards of the San Francisco Symphony, National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management and the Nantucket Boys and Girls Clubs, among others. He has also served as a longtime member of Xavier’s President’s Advisory Council, providing guidance in keeping Xavier on the forefront of technology and development. He and his wife, Nan, continue to be generous supporters of Xavier, most recently establishing the Nan and Charles Geschke Terrace in the Conaton Learning Commons. In recognition of his vision, his impact around the world, his openness to new ideas and his willingness to give generously of himself, Xavier University is honored to present Charles Geschke with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Mike Moroski will receive Xavier’s Magis Award which recognizes a Xavier alumnus or alumna who has achieved a high degree of excellence and embodies Jesuit morals and ethical values in his or her life. In the 10 years since he graduated, Moroski has established himself as a passionate advocate of the poor in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, as well as an inspiring mentor to students at Moeller High School. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in English, Moroski accepted a teaching position at Moeller, where he has instructed his students on the finer points of grammar, and taught them a lesson he learned at Xavier—how to become men for others. While chaperoning students who were restoring buildings for the poor to live, his own heart was touched. He found himself in solidarity with the area’s poor, fighting against injustice on their behalf and finding ways to make their lives better. He created a student group called MACH 1—Moeller Advocates for Community Housing—that returned each weekend and restored the housing, and he led weekend retreats that addressed homelessness, government regulations and the bureaucratic and pragmatic concerns surrounding affordable housing in Cincinnati. For exemplifying the Jesuit ideals of enhancing the humanity of the poor, improving the world through education and being a man for others, Xavier University is proud to present Michael Moroski with the 2011 Magis Award.
John C. Lechleiter, President and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, will receive Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at the undergraduate ceremony. Many the world over owe John Lechleiter a debt of gratitude for improving their quality of life. He is responsible for the innovation and development of a wide range of pharmaceutical products that not only improve lives but also serve as the answer to some of the world’s most urgent medical needs. After earning his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Xavier in 1975, Lechleiter became a National Science Foundation Fellow at Harvard University, where he received both his master’s and doctorate degrees in organic chemistry. He joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist and became head of the company’s process research and development division in three years. In 2005, he was named president and chief operating officer and joined Lilly’s board of directors. He became chief executive officer and chairman of the board in 2008. In addition to sitting on the board of trustees at Xavier, he is on the board of Nike, the United Way Worldwide, the Life Sciences Foundation and several others. He is a Director of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, as well as the Great Lakes Chemical Corporation, and he is a member of the American Chemical Society, Business Roundtable, Business Council and the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. In recognition of his outstanding service to the University and society, and his commitment to Jesuit values, Xavier University is honored to present John C. Lechleiter with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The top graduating senior is honored as the John A. Elet, S.J. Scholar. Named after the first president of Xavier University, this recognizes a student for academic and service excellence. This year’s honor goes to Matthew Ackels, age 22, of Dallas (75229). He is graduating with a bachelor’s in English and minors in natural sciences and theatre. The Elet is the award formerly known as the valedictorian.
Xavier’s graduate commencement speaker will be Roger A. Fortin, PhD, Xavier’s Academic Vice President and Provost. He will also receive the Paul O’Connor Leadership Award at the undergraduate ceremony. Like all great history professors, Fortin has the ability to engage his students in the details and drama of worldly events as if he had been there as a personal witness. And like all great administrators, he has the ability to listen, learn and lead. For the last 45 years, Xavier has been the beneficiary of this rare combination of skills. He came to Xavier in 1966 as an assistant professor of history, quickly moving up the ranks to associate professor and professor, and serving as department chair for eight years. He unselfishly stepped in to fill such roles as academic vice president, dean of Edgecliff College and director of the library. In 2001 he became the University’s first and only provost. Always the historian, Fortin spent his off-hours researching and writing a long list of articles and publications, including Faith and Action: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1996, and Xavier’s official historical book of record, To See Great Wonders: A History of Xavier University, 1831-2006. Outside of his work at Xavier, Fortin has served as director of the project to renovate the Historic Cincinnati Fire House Museum, as a board member of the Greater Cincinnati chapter of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation and as a director of the St. Xavier High School’s Masterwork Study Project. In recognition of his years of focused dedication to Xavier University and its mission as well as his wisdom, leadership and tireless work in developing the academic lives of countless students, Xavier University is proud to present Roger Fortin with the Paul L. O’Connor, S.J., Leadership Award.
Xavier University’s New Commencement Regalia
Xavier University’s commencement gowns are trash. Literally. For years, Xavier graduates have sported black gowns with stoles bearing the university seal. Thousands of alumni have them stashed in a box in the basement or in the back of a closet at their parents’ houses. In keeping with Xavier President Michael J. Graham’s signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2008, the university has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. This commitment, combined with the unveiling of a new logo, provided the perfect opportunity for Pat Woeste, Executive Director for Provost Operations, to introduce new commencement regalia. This year will see a blue gown and a white stole bearing the new Xavier logo. The gowns are more breathable and cooler than the old version, but more interesting is that each is made from 23 plastic drink bottles. And for the first time, the tassel on the mortarboard cap will bear the graduation year. Oak Hall Cap & Gown of Salem, Virginia is the vendor. “We worked with the chair of our sustainability committee to make sure we were on the right track,” says Woeste. “Students can recycle the gowns yet again after their friend and family photos are taken. The company recycles them into stuffing for pillows and jackets.” Students will keep the white stole with the logo as a souvenir.
Xavier Honors Golden Graduates
Fourteen members of the graduating class of 1961 will return to Xavier University to be honored once again. They will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their commencement and be an honored part of the 2011 ceremony for this year’s undergraduates. When these alumni attended Xavier, the student body and the campus were much smaller and virtually all male. Jesuit professors dominated and most students were “day-hops” – commuter students. While the campus is now co-ed and much larger in acreage, these alumni will find that some things never change. The close-knit, family atmosphere and caring faculty and staff are still very much a part of what is known as Xavier University.
(02062) Mr. James L. Wells of Norwood, MA earned a Bachelor of Science in 1961. He is the associate vice chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
(21409) Mr. William C. Nevel of Annapolis, MD earned a Bachelor of Science in political science in 1961 from Xavier and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Case Western Reserve in 1964. He is a retired vice president/project manager of Parsons Transportation Group in Washington, D.C. He and wife Kathleen will celebrate 49 years of marriage this year. Bill completed his ROTC active duty service as an instructor on the Pershing Missile System. He worked as a city planner for the City of Evanston, Illinois and was appointed to the Governor’s Transportation Task Force to assist in the creation of the six-county Chicago area Regional Transportation Authority. In his 30 year career with Parsons he served as a project manager, vice-president and director of marketing. He worked on a variety of high-speed rail and maglev projects in the U.S. and overseas. He was elected chairman of the High-Speed Ground Transportation Association and testified before Congress on the need for high-speed rail in the U.S. He spent a year in Qatar as public affairs manager working with the governments of Qatar and Bahrain for what will be the longest bridge (25 miles), with complementary high-speed rail service, in the world. He is vice chairman of Anne Arundel County’s citizens’ transportation committee. He continues with the boating activities he initiated at Xavier with the University’s sailing team. Bill encourages recent graduates to consider a career in urban planning and/or transportation planning.
(21613) Mr. Patrick J. Nugent, Sr. of Cambridge, MD earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1961. He is the retired director of tax legislation at MCI Telecomm Corp. He is married to Vera Nugent.
(35802) Col. Edward C. Malone (ret) of Huntsville, AL earned a Bachelor of Science from Xavier in 1961 and a Master’s in economics from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1974. He retired from the Army in 1987 after 26 years and as manager of the International Division of CAS, Inc. in 2004. He and wife Vicki have been married 45 years.
(41075) Mr. John F. McGraw of Fort Thomas, KY earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1961.
(45039) Mr. William “Bill” Ruwe of Maineville, OH earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1961 and an MBA in 1980. He is retired from the Daggett Agency. His wife, Dr. Marcia L. Ruwe, is a 1963 alumna of Xavier.
(45044) Mr. John Heenan of Liberty Township attended Xavier through 1961 majoring in English. He is a pharmacist/district manager with Gray Drug Stores, Inc.
(45118) Mr. Robert J. Knueven of Fayetteville, OH earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting in 1961 and an MBA in 1972. He is retired Treasurer and CFO of Glenmary Home Missioners and is married to Diane Kneuven.
(45229) Dr. Dave Flaspohler of North Avondale earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1961 and a Master of Science in Mathematics one year later. He is a retired professor of mathematics at Xavier. His wife, Dr. Cynthia Crown, is a retired professor of psychology at Xavier.
(45230) Dr. William C. Wester II of Cincinnati earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 1961. He is a clinical psychologist with the Behavioral Science Center.
(45342) Mr. Donald Kammer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting in 1961. His wife Kathleen F. Kammer graduated in 1961 with a degree in biology from Edgecliff College. Both live in Miamisburg, OH. Don retired as a United States Air Force civilian employee from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
(45458) Mr. Harry Enslein of Centerville earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting in 1961 and an MBA in 1968. He is a retired manager with Lifo Fixed Asset Accounting and is married to Marilou Enslein, a 1974 alumna of Xavier.
(46748) Frederick Jordan of Huntertown, IN earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1961. He is a retired pharmacist with Parkview Memorial Hospital.
(47304) John H Meiser, PhD, of Muncie, IN earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1961 from Xavier. He received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati and taught at the University of Dayton for three years. He moved to Ball State University in 1969 and has taught there for 40 years. He had a Senior Fulbright Award to teach abroad in the Philippines for one year. Meiser has written six editions of a popular chemistry solutions manual, co-written four editions of Physical Chemistry (translated into Spanish and Bahasin), and published a fifth edition in electronic format. He spent a year lecturing in Southeast Asia and India under the auspices of Indiana University and has had a long association with Argonne National Laboratory doing research on many projects.