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Undergraduate commencement is Sunday, May 12

May 6, 2013

Ohio Northern University will celebrate its 2013 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony in the Sports Center on Sunday, May 12, at 2 p.m. in the Sports Center. About 550 students will be awarded degrees.

Robert Manning, Mars Exploration Program chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will address the graduating students as the guest speaker and receive an honorary degree from the University. Oscar J. and Judith D. (Jacobs) Mifsud also will receive honorary degrees.

Courtney Hetrick, graduating electrical engineering major from Frazeysburg, Ohio, will serve as the student speaker.

Doors to the ONU Sports Center will open on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. for the commencement ceremony. Guests should arrive by 1 p.m. The musical prelude will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by the procession of faculty and students.

Since 2004, Manning has been responsible for ensuring the success of current and future missions to Mars. In early 2008, he was named the chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission that successfully landed the rover Curiosity on the Martian surface in August 2012. The mission’s science goals include the investigation of the Martian climate and geology and the assessment of whether the rover’s landing site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. Prior to these roles, Manning led the spacecraft systems engineering team for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project, which landed the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on the surface of Mars in early 2004.

Judith Mifsud graduated from ONU in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She retired after teaching at the elementary level for 24 years. Currently, she is active in community-based service such as Interfaith Care Givers and PJs from Grandma Inc., a nonprofit organization she founded. Judith Mifsud has been an active alumna for ONU by serving on the national steering committee for ONU’s capital campaign, The Campaign for Ohio Northern University’s Tomorrow. She established the Judith D. (Jacobs) Mifsud Endowed Scholarship Fund to benefit students pursuing a degree in education at ONU. She is currently active in ONU’s GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) program, a giving society for young alumni. In 2009, her past and current contributions were recognized when she received ONU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Oscar Mifsud, who graduated from ONU with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1972, is the president and CEO of the Mifsud Group LLC, a private investment and management company, and the former president, CEO and owner of SMR Aerospace. Oscar Mifsud has generously offered his time to ONU. He has served on the ONU Board of Trustees since 2000 and, in 2007, was named vice chair of the board and a member of its executive committee. He also is a member of the board’s finance, investment and trusteeship committees. In the University’s recently completed and highly successful capital campaign, which raised more than $110 million, Oscar Mifsud served as national campaign chair. He established the Oscar J. Mifsud Leadership Scholarship Fund for the Dicke College of Business Administration. He received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009, the College of Business Administration’s Outstanding Service Award in 2012, and the College of Business Administration’s Pinnacle Award in 2013.

Together, the Mifsuds established the Mifsud Family Foundation, which provides a focus on health, education and welfare of children and families. The two also established the Oscar J. and Judith D. Mifsud Endowment at Ohio Northern University, ONU’s Pay It Forward program, and the Ohio Northern Senior Send Off program.

In addition to the commencement ceremony, a commencement chapel service will be held in the English Chapel on Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. The Raabe College of Pharmacy’s hooding ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 12, at 10 a.m. in the ONU Sports Center.