Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients
Pharmacy Commencement Ceremony
Mark E. Butler, BSPh ’79
Chief of Pharmacy Service
To commemorate his retirement from the Air Force in 2011, the College of Pharmacy held a flag-raising ceremony on the front lawn. This flag was presented to Butler during his formal retirement ceremony and is proudly displayed in his home. A flag carried by Butler during his deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom was presented to his alma mater. Today, this flag is on display in the college’s Sebok Lobby. Also in 2011, Butler facilitated full-tuition scholarships for six ONU pharmacy students who were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force during a special ceremony on campus.
Butler received his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Ohio Northern in 1979, the fourth generation from his family to do so. Butler currently serves as the chief, Pharmacy Service at the Dayton VA Medical Center.
Morgan Ashley Belling
College of Pharmacy
Morgan Ashley Belling is double major in pharmacy and Spanish from Rochelle, Ill. A recipient of the Mathile Scholarship, she served in several organizations, including pharmaceutical honorary society Rho Chi, Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, and the Academy of Student Pharmacists. Belling was granted the Pharmacy Communications Award and the Robert M. Storch Award; the latter recognizes a student who displays the true spirit of pharmacy. Volunteering throughout her time at ONU, Belling found joy in counseling patients at Spanish health fairs, tutoring students, and giving back to the Ada community. She is most proud of and thankful for the wonderful mentors and friends she has had the privilege to know over the last six years. Due to their collective generosity, Belling will practice as a PGY-1 pharmacy resident at West Virginia University Healthcare this June; her goal is to pay forward the blessings she has been given by the family at Ohio Northern.
Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Elizabeth Broun is responsible for the nation’s premier collection of American art and major exhibition, research, publication, education and new media programs. During Broun’s tenure, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has become a leader in distance learning, Web-based resources, research databases and new media. In addition, the museum has developed a significant national education program and innovative uses of technology in all aspects of the museum program. Broun’s research interests include contemporary art, 19th-century art, and prints and drawings. Her 1989 exhibition catalog on Albert Pinkham Ryder won the prestigious Alfred H. Barr Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Broun earned a doctorate degree in art history from the University of Kansas and a Certificate of Advanced Study from the University of Bordeaux in France.
College of Business Administration
Eric Ambos is a senior business management major, minoring in political science, from Botkins, Ohio. Ambos has been actively involved in many student organizations at Ohio Northern and previously served as the president of the University’s Student Senate for two years. In this position, Ambos worked as a liaison between Northern’s students and administration to facilitate the continuous improvement of campus life. He also was responsible for representing the student body as a full voting member of the Ohio Northern University Board of Trustees. Outside of Student Senate, Ambos served as vice president of the Dicke College of Business Administration’s Dean’s Advisory Council, co-leader of the business college’s Peer Mentorship Program, and a member of the President’s Club and ONU 3-TV. He received the Debow Freed Award for Outstanding Leadership as an undergraduate student in spring 2013. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Ambos plans to attend ONU’s Pettit College of Law to pursue his goal of becoming a practicing attorney.
Law Commencement Ceremony
Benjamin Brafman, JD ’74
Benjamin Brafman, JD ’74, is the principal of Brafman & Associates P.C. in New York City. A prominent criminal defense lawyer, he has represented celebrities, business leaders, and political figures in complex criminal and civil litigations across the United States.
College of Law
Andrew Drilling is a graduating law student who will accept an associate position with Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP in Buffalo, N.Y., after passing the bar. Drilling graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science in economics. He spent his first summer of law school serving as a law clerk to Jeremiah J. McCarthy, United States magistrate judge for the Western District of New York. During his second summer, and continuing through his third year at the ONU College of Law, he worked for his current employer, Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak. During Drilling’s three years at ONU, he was actively involved in many aspects of the University. He served on Ohio Northern Law Review for two years and currently has two articles in publication with the ONU law journal. He served as a teaching assistant for a criminal law class and as a research assistant focusing primarily on employment discrimination law. He was a recipient of a judicial scholarship and the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Award all three of his years at ONU. Subsequent to law school, Drilling will pursue a career in personal injury litigation.
Additional Honorary Degree Recipients
John H. Genovese, JD ’79, is a founding shareholder at Genovese, Joblove & Battista P.A., which has Miami and Fort Lauderdale offices and an affiliate office in Caracas, Venezuela. He co-chairs the group’s reorganization and insolvency practice. His areas of legal proficiency include troubled loan workouts, bankruptcy and insurance insolvencies, complex litigation in Bankruptcy and U.S. District Court, and other complex commercial litigation.
Robert Kerscher, BSBA ’70, is the founder, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lexi-Comp Inc., an Ohio-based medical publisher and a leader in providing clinical content at the point-of-care. Its diverse information databases enable clinicians to make informed decisions to enhance patient care. Lexi-Comp’s publishing model focuses on an increased frequency of updates, often daily, to its online and handheld databases, ensuring the most up-to-date information is available for customer access. Lexi-Comp’s products contribute to a decreased incidence of adverse drug events and improved quality of patient care. In addition to its core drug information databases, Lexi-Comp offers a growing number of laboratory, diagnostic medicine, dental, natural, custom formulary and patient education products. Lexi-Comp also maintains key strategic partnerships with other industry leaders to provide additional important content and functionality.
Since founding Lexi-Comp 1978, Kerscher has led efforts to grow the business into a multifaceted medical publishing company. He was named the Northeast Ohio Ernst & Young 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year in the Communications and Networking category. Kerscher serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Ohio Northern University.
Nils Riess has been the central figure in growing, developing, managing and leading the Freed Center for the Performing Arts and the academic programs it houses.
Recently retired from Ohio Northern University as director of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts, chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, director of Media Communication Services and Performing Arts, head of the Fine Arts Division, and professor of theatre, Riess’ vision has created many powerful arts experiences for audiences and artists. He has developed international links and artists exchanges with Australia, Estonia, Finland, New Zealand and Portugal to name a few and has been instrumental in bringing theatre professionals to work shoulder to shoulder with his students in University productions. One such venture was the development of the International Play Festival at ONU. This is one-of-a-kind concept cannot be found in other institutions of higher education.
During his long career, Riess has nurtured students, faculty and professional artists while sharing their visions of artistic development. Recently, he has continued his own professional growth as an actor in six independent films. In addition, for his work in the arts, Riess has received many awards, including the coveted Ohio Governors Award for the Arts; he also served as head of the international jury for the 2012 Baltic Theatre Festival. Truly one of a kind, Riess leaves a legacy of purpose, professionalism and progress, a legacy that ensures a vibrant future for the Freed Center and all that happens within. This spring, the Freed Center stage was renamed in his and his wife, Susan's, honor.