MADISON — Will Anton graduated this spring from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Anton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and was a Business (Marketing Concentration) major and a History minor.
Ohio Wesleyan held its 178th commencement ceremony on May 7, with keynote speaker Amy Acton, M.D., M.P.H., encouraging the Class of 2022 to “get in some John Lewis good trouble … create the conditions in which all of us can lead flourishing lives … (and) lead with courage and compassion.”
“You are not an ordinary generation,” said Acton, who served as the senior health adviser to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because we’ve never before had the entire world go through the same thing at the same time in quite this way.
“I’ve started to think of you as Generation C, and that is not for just COVID, or chaos, or all of the challenges you have faced,” said Acton, who was awarded a 2021 Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for her pandemic leadership. “But I think of it for your courage, for your compassion, that you’re collaborative, that you change agents.”
In addition to Acton, graduating senior Olivia Anderson of Toledo, Ohio, also shared words of wisdom and inspiration with the crowd.
“There is no universal experience here – each one of us has walked our own individual path on this campus,” said Anderson, a Studio Art major, and Theatre minor. “However, we do have two very special things in common: ambition and adaptability. We of all classes have endured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Despite all the odds being against us, we have persevered.”
President Rock Jones, Ph.D., congratulated the Class of 2022 for persevering through a pandemic and urging them to use their OWU educations to improve the world.
“You were less than halfway through your time at OWU when the campus closed and you went home,” Jones said, recalling the March 2020 mandate. “Remarkably, your education did not end. In due time, you returned to campus, and today we are back in front of Merrick Hall celebrating the unique accomplishments of the bold and irrepressible Class of 2022. …
“Now you look ahead, with a lifetime of opportunity in front of you,” Jones said. “You are more than ready, and we are more than eager to watch, as we are fully confident that you who have created yourselves before our very eyes will make an enormous impact on the world that awaits.”
The graduating students included nearly 300 spring, summer, and fall graduates, with three members who achieved perfect 4.0-grade point averages: Lydia Arnold of Tiffin, Ohio; Davis Graham of Canton, Ohio; and Gwendolyn Toves of Dublin, Ohio, who completed her degree in December.
During the Saturday afternoon ceremony, the University honored four outstanding faculty members with special awards:
- Franchesca Nestor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Politics and Government, received The Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for Encouragement of Teachers.
- Bradley Trees, Ph.D., the Richardson-Linebaugh Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was recognized with the Libuse L. Reed Endowed Professorship.
- Kristina Bogdanov, M.F.A., associate professor of Fine Arts, received the Welch Meritorious Teaching Award.
- Michael Flamm, Ph.D., professor of History, received the Welch Award for Scholarly or Artistic Achievement.
In addition, Ohio Wesleyan bestowed the Adam Poe Medal upon Robert Gitter, Ph.D. professor emeritus of Economics, in recognition of his recent retirement. Gitter retired in December after 46 years of service to the university and its students.
President Jones concluded the 2022 commencement ceremony with Ohio Wesleyan’s traditional benediction, encouraging OWU’s newest alumni to share their knowledge and compassion with a world in need.
“If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found freedom, take it with you into the world,” Jones said. “If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found peace, go and share it with others. If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have found some portion of the truth, go and seek it all the more. If, here at Ohio Wesleyan, you have learned to dream dreams, help one another, and those dreams may come true. If you have known love here at Ohio Wesleyan, give some back to a hurting and bruised world.”
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at www.owu.edu/experts or learn more at www.owu.edu.