Ursinus College will award degrees to 460 undergraduate students at its 139th Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of the campus.The main speaker for Commencement will be Carol Geary Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters.
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, will speak at the Baccalaureate Service, held in Bomberger auditorium on Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
At the graduation, Chair of the Board of Trustees John E. F. Corson, who was Interim President of Ursinus College for a year preceding President Dr. Bobby Fong, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
The Commencement ceremony, open to the public, will be held rain or shine under a tent. Seating is on first-come, first-served basis. The Borough of Collegeville will detour Main Street traffic from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
In addition to the undergraduates receiving their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, the students of the Center for Continuous Learning will be included in the graduating class of 2012. Since The Center stopped accepting new students several years ago this group will be the final graduates of the program which was founded 60 years ago.
In addition to the undergraduates receiving their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, six students from the Center for Continuous Learning will march in the commencement processional. The Center, which stopped accepting new students several years ago, was founded 60 years ago, and this is the last year its students will be part of the commencement.
Class Valedictorians are Natalie R. DelBusso, an Anthropology and Sociology major from Kimberton, Pa., and Kristen Marie Wampole, a Business and Economics major from Harleysville, Pa. Salutatorians are Elizabeth Anne Burns, a Media and Communications major from New Freedom, Pa., and Jason K. Mullins, a History and International Relations double major from Cheltenham, Pa.
Carol Geary Schneider has been President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities since 1998. With a membership of more than 1,200 institutions, AAC&U is the leading national organization devoted to advancing and strengthening the liberal arts.
In 2005, Dr. Schneider initiated Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), a campus action and public advocacy campaign designed to engage students and the public with what matters in college. Through the LEAP campaign, AAC&U champions the value of a liberal education.
Named executive vice president of AAC&U in 1988, Dr. Schneider developed and led a series of grant-funded national initiatives on general education reform. She also led AAC&U’s national initiative on higher education and pluralism. Prior to her appointments at AAC&U, Dr. Schneider spent 10 years at the University of Chicago, where she directed the Midwest Faculty Seminar – a scholarly and educational collaboration between the University of Chicago and 50 Midwest colleges. She was a founding director of the University of Chicago Institutes on Teaching and Learning, and also helped establish the Chicago Teaching Program. She has taught at Boston University, Chicago State University, The University of Chicago, and DePaul University.
Dr. Schneider is a magna cum laude graduate and past member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, where she received the bachelor’s degree in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She studied at the University of London’s Institute for Historical Research and earned the Ph.D. in early modern history from Harvard University. Dr. Schneider has received eight honorary degrees and is the 2011 recipient of the ACPA’s Contribution to Higher Education Award.
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black was elected General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ in June 2009. Prior to that, he served as Conference Minister of the UCC’s New York Conference for nine years beginning in 2000.
Rev. Black previously served as a Minister for Church Life and Leadership with the Office for Church Life and Leadership (currently known as Parish Life and Leadership), a national agency of the United Church of Christ housed at the UCC’s national offices in Cleveland, Ohio.
Prior to joining the staff of OCLL in 1994, he served as Pastor of the Congregational UCC of South Hempstead (N.Y.). During his years in ministry, Black also served as assistant chaplain at Brown University, associate minister at St. Albans Congregational UCC in Queens, Lecturer in the Field Education Department at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and Protestant chaplain at Adelphi University.
Ecumenical commitment, concern for equal justice, African-American empowerment, and community improvement have shaped Black’s ministry in the church and in the communities in which he has lived. While living in Ohio, he has been an active member of Caring Communities of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Partnership 2000 of the Shaker Public schools.
John E. F. (Jef) Corson has been a Trustee of Ursinus College since 1983 and currently serves as Chair of the Board. Members of the Class of 2012 know him as a friendly and engaging advocate of Ursinus who was elected by the Board to serve as President of the College following the retirement of the late president, John Strassburger, in June 2010 until President Bobby Fong took office a year later.
A graduate of Williams College, Corson is President of the Corson Foundation and the Corson Investment Co., a group of family partnerships and a consulting firm, respectively. He also serves as a Principal and Board member of Abbott & Cobb, Inc., a vegetable seed company headquartered in Trevose, Pa. Corson previously held positions as Vice President of C.E.S. Associates, an independent specialty oil wholesaler, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of G & W.H. Corson Inc. until the company was sold to IU International, and he became Vice President of Operations.
Corson also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Montgomery Hospital, and serves on the Boards of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. He formerly served as a Trustee of the Montgomery Foundation, the Montgomery County Lands Trust, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and as a member of the Boards of Progress Bank, the First National Bank of Atlanta, Carl A. Posse & Co., the Pennsylvania State Board of Examiners of Public Accounts, the Valley Forge Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Montgomery County Community College Foundation, the Superior Tube Scholarship Foundation, and the Central Montgomery County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Administration.
Over the nearly three decades since Mr. Corson was first elected to the Ursinus Board of Trustees, he has served its secretary, treasurer and vice chair, as well as chair of key committees including Finance, Development, and Building and Grounds. In 1970, the College’s administration building was named in honor of his parents, Philip L. and Helen P. Corson.