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Upcoming commencement exercises to celebrate student achievement

May 9, 2017

Ohio Northern University will celebrate the success of its students during upcoming commencement exercises in the ONU Sports Center Field House. ONU President Daniel DiBiasio will preside over the ceremonies. The College of Pharmacy and undergraduate colleges will hold their ceremonies on May 14, and the College of Law commencement is scheduled for May 21.

More than 660 students are earning their degrees from the University this academic year, including 151 from the College of Pharmacy, 434 from the other undergraduate colleges and 81 from the College of Law.


Raabe College of Pharmacy commencement exercises will be held at 9 a.m. on May 14. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m., the musical prelude will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the academic processional will begin at 8:35 a.m. A reception will be held afterwards in the Robertson-Evans Pharmacy Building.

Shannon Kraus, a graduating pharmacy student from Pittsburgh, Pa., will be the student speaker. She has also minored in Spanish.

The keynote speaker will be Tammy M. Stefanovic, a 1988 graduate of the ONU College of Pharmacy and long-time pharmaceutical executive. She joined GAVIS Pharmaceuticals as president of its U.S. operations in early 2012. She was previously president of Apotex Corporation in Weston, Fla. A Canadian company, Apotex’s U.S. presence was established under her leadership.

Stefanovic earned a master’s degree in pharmaceutical administration from The Ohio State University.

Tom Gossel, a 1963 graduate of the ONU College of Pharmacy and professor of pharmacology emeritus of the college, will receive an honorary doctorate. He has served the pharmacy profession for more than 50 years as a community pharmacist and manager, educator, college administrator and consultant. Gossel was acting dean of the college from 1993-94 and dean from 1994-99.

Gossel joined the ONU College of Pharmacy faculty in 1972 after earning his master’s and doctoral degrees, both in pharmacology/toxicology, from Purdue University. Over the years, Gossel served the college as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences, chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and associate dean.

In collaboration with his friend and colleague, Dr. J. Richard “Dick” Wuest, professor emeritus of pharmacy practice at the University of Cincinnati, Gossel produced more continuing education (CE) lessons for pharmacists than perhaps anyone else in the country. Gossel has presented more than 1,300 seminars, lectures or workshops to pharmacists, nurses, physicians, dentists and other health professionals in 47 states and in Jamaica, in Switzerland and off the coast of Italy.


The undergraduate commencement ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 14. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and guests are asked to arrive by 1 p.m. and be seated by 1:30 p.m., when the musical prelude will begin, followed by the academic processional at 1:35 p.m.

Rebecca Phlipot, a graduating ACS certified biochemistry with an honors concentration student from Marysville, Ohio, will be the student speaker.

Walter Bettinger II, a local native who has made his mark in the fields of finance and investments, will serve as the keynote speaker. He is president and chief executive officer of The Charles Schwab Corporation. Bettinger is a graduate of Ada High School. His father, Donald, was a professor and later chair of ONU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Bettinger’s duties include leading the development of strategies and services that assist millions of people worldwide in their efforts to save and invest. He is credited with leading Schwab through the financial crisis. Post crisis, from 2009-12, Schwab grew client assets by $530 billion – $200 billion more than the growth of all four of Schwab’s primary, publicly traded competitors combined.

He leads a workforce of approximately 16,000 full-time employees with headquarters in San Francisco and branch offices in 330 locations across the United States as well as London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Puerto Rico.

Bettinger has been recognized throughout his career as a leader in financial services. He was recognized in Fortune magazine’s Businessperson of the Year listing in both 2014 and 2016, when he was named the No. 25 businessperson in the world. He was named by Smart Money magazine to the Power 30 of the world’s most powerful and influential players in 2010. In 2009, Bettinger received the lifetime achievement award for contributions to the retirement security of working Americans by Plan Sponsor magazine.

Bettinger has been a strong supporter of ONU athletics. He and his wife, Teri, donated the Joe and Margaret Campoli Court in the ONU Sports Center and played an instrumental role in revamping the Beverly “Bev” Daugherty Memorial Locker Room. He has also served as a University trustee.

Bettinger earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a major in finance, from Ohio University. He also completed the general management program offered by the Harvard Business School.

James Lehr Kennedy, an entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist, will earn an honorary degree.

The great-grandson of ONU founder Henry Solomon Lehr, Kennedy grew up in Massachusetts, but he spent every summer during his childhood visiting his grandmother Sarah Kennedy (the daughter of Henry Solomon Lehr), and aunt Mary Kennedy (the granddaughter of Lehr), who lived in Ada. He serves the University as a member of its board of trustees.

Kennedy earned his undergraduate degree in economics from The College of Wooster and a master’s degree in economics and MBA from the The Ohio State University.

After graduating from Wooster, he landed a key position at the Ohio Power Siting Board. He later worked at the Ohio Department of Energy and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. He spent 20 years holding executive positions, formulating energy policy, directing regulatory affairs, testifying before lawmakers and devising energy forecasts. In the evening, he found time to teach macroeconomics at Ohio State University for 12 years.

In August 1989, Kennedy developed an idea that became Twenty First Century Communications (TFCC), his first entrepreneurial endeavor and a multimillion-dollar company. Kennedy created the technology that enables electric companies to handle large call volumes, track power outages reported by customers and call back customers with pertinent information.

He then created the alert system that gives utilities, emergency-management agencies, schools and other organizations the ability to call or text-message people within a certain geographic radius in the event of a disaster. His system has saved countless lives, alerting people about the need to evacuate during wild fires, floods, hurricanes and active-shooter situations.

In recent years, Kennedy has launched two new companies. Next Future LLC develops, markets and patents a range of consumer-based products, including Kennedy’s recent invention of a smartphone application that reads utility meters. Crystal Remembrances, based in Dublin, Ohio, produces handcrafted crystal vessels to hold the cremated remains of loved ones.

The Rev. Amy Aspey will speak at the baccalaureate service at 4:30 p.m. on May 13 in the English Chapel. She is currently lead minister of New Life United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio, and will serve as the campus pastor of an upcoming church from the same site. She is a 2001 graduate of ONU and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.


The Pettit College of Law commencement exercises will be held at 2 p.m. on May 21. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., with the musical prelude at 1:30 p.m. and the academic processional at 1:45 pm. A reception will be held in the College of Law building following the ceremony.

Aaron Boris, a graduating law student from Ithaca, N.Y., will be the student speaker.

Keynote speaker Mike DeWine, a 1972 graduate of the ONU College of Law, has made protecting the state’s families a priority during his time as Ohio attorney general.

To better protect youth, DeWine created a special Crimes Against Children Unit to help identify, arrest and convict sexual predators. He has also increased training for law enforcement and educators to help improve school safety; fight human trafficking, child abuse, missing children and bullying; and meet the needs of foster youth.

DeWine has also devoted resources to fight Ohio’s prescription drug abuse and heroin problems, increased the number of criminal prosecutions in consumer fraud cases and dramatically decreased the turnaround time for testing of DNA evidence.

DeWine has a long and distinguished career in public service. He served as Greene County prosecuting attorney, in the Ohio State Senate, in the United States House of Representatives, as Ohio lieutenant governor and in the United States Senate.

He and his family have strong connections to the ONU College of Law. DeWine earned an honorary doctorate from Ohio Northern in 1995. Further, his daughter Alice graduated from ONU’s College of Law in 2008.

For more commencement information visit the commencement website.