Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2019 graduating seniors will reflect upon and celebrate their OWU experiences May 10 during baccalaureate and then receive their diplomas May 11 as part of the university’s 175th annual commencement ceremony.
Baccalaureate will begin at 7 p.m. May 10 in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The hour-long event is planned by students with assistance from the university Chaplain’s Office. Baccalaureate typically features poetry and verse readings, personal reflections, and dance and music performances. Ohio Wesleyan’s Religious Life Awards also are presented during the annual celebration.
Members of the Class of 2019 Baccalaureate Committee have selected “Kaleidoscopes: Expanding Patterns of our Faiths” as the theme of this year’s event. The committee is led by co-chairs and graduating seniors Mollie Marshall of Memphis, Texas; Abigail Ralph of Calabasas, California; and Noah Spicer of North Reading, Massachusetts.
“This class is unique because we are willing to challenge both social norms and our own personal beliefs,” stated the co-chairs, all residents of the university’s Interfaith House small living unit. “Our class aspires to remain curious and dig deep in order to truly understand our values, beliefs, and identities.
“When we hear the world is in distress,” the students continued, “we use our faith to ground us and guide us in finding ways to make positive change. As we leave OWU, we will not fear to challenge injustices or fear continual growth which re-shapes our own identities.”
Following baccalaureate, more than 300 Ohio Wesleyan seniors will receive their diplomas the next day during commencement. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. May 11 on Merrick Lawn, located outside Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. In case of severe weather, the ceremony will move inside Gordon Field House, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, and tickets will be required for seating.
Retired otolaryngologist and head-and-neck surgeon Diane Y. Petersen, M.D., a 1966 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, will deliver the keynote commencement address. In addition to her accomplished professional career, Petersen made history in 1965, when, as Ohio Wesleyan student, she became the first African American woman in the nation to be initiated into the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
“It means a great deal to me that my Tri Delta sisters and I helped to open the door against discrimination in college sororities,” Petersen stated. “One wonders if another African American on another campus would have had the same experience. We can all hope so. But I cannot help but feel there was something in this university’s DNA, something in its history that forever set its moral compass.”
Caroline Hamlin, president of the Ohio Wesleyan Class of 2019, also will speak during the commencement celebration. A resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Hamlin is a double major in environmental studies and geography. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to pursue certification in recreational therapy and outdoor wilderness leadership. Afterward, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in social work.
Both Ohio Wesleyan’s baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies will be streamed live online at www.owu.edu/stream. Learn more about the events at www.owu.edu/commencement.
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