By Gary Budzak
Ohio Wesleyan University’s biggest weekend of the year coincides with an annual holiday, Mother’s Day.
“For those moms who are here and get to watch their children cross the stage and get their diploma, I’m sure it’s very special,” OWU spokesman Cole Hatcher told The Gazette. “You will see some of the students will put messages on their mortarboard, etc.”
OWU’s 170th commencement will be held at 1 p.m. May 11 in Phillips Glen outside Phillips Hall, 50 S. Henry St. The ceremony will be streamed live online at http://stream.owu.edu.
“It’s a fun day as long as the sun shines,” Hatcher said. If there is heavy rain, the event will move indoors to Gordon Field House.
About 400 seniors are expected to receive their diplomas.
The keynote speaker will be Stephen A. Ollendorff, an attorney and co-founder of the Ollendorff Center for Human and Religious Understanding. In 1938, Ollendorff and his mother spent a year living in the home of OWU professor Guy Sarvis after fleeing Nazi Germany. In 2013, the Ollendorff Center helped to create an endowed travel/research grant and a student award in Sarvis’ name at OWU.
“Professor Guy Sarvis has been one of the great influences in my life, and I feel a very special connection to OWU,” Ollendorff said in a statement.
Also expected to speak at the commencement is senior class president Anthony Peddle, despite being stabbed a week ago. (See related page 1 story.)
The night before, graduating seniors will reflect on their college days at baccalaureate service, held at 8 p.m. May 10 in University Hall’s Gray Chapel, 61 S. Sandusky St. This year’s theme is “Living Stones, Rippling Waters.”
“The baccalaureate gives graduating seniors a chance to take a look back upon their personal and their spiritual journeys during the four years that they’ve been here,” Hatcher said. “They will celebrate that through different methods – poetry, dance, music, readings or share reflections with the audience. It’s really a nice ceremony. It’s so interesting to hear or see how students have progressed during their four years here.”
Also at the baccalaureate, flags of the home nations of the graduates will be brought to the stage, and a senior art gallery will be on view outside the chapel.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.