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Ohio Northern University to celebrate undergraduate, pharmacy commencement ceremonies

Apr 29, 2014

Ohio Northern University will celebrate its 2014 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony and the Raabe College of Pharmacy Commencement in the Sports Center on Sunday, May 11. The pharmacy ceremony will commence at 9 a.m. followed by the undergraduate ceremony at 2 p.m.

The College of Pharmacy will honor its graduates with a separate ceremony. Mark Butler, retired Air Force officer and former pharmacy consultant to the surgeon general and associate chief for pharmacy, will be the pharmacy commencement speaker. Morgan Ashley Belling, a 2014 candidate for graduation in pharmacy and Spanish from Rochelle, Ill., will serve as the student pharmacy commencement speaker. 

Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will serve as the undergraduate commencement speaker. Eric Ambos, a 2014 candidate for graduation in business management from Botkins, Ohio, will serve as the student commencement speaker.

Butler, who received his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from ONU in 1979, was a commander in the 59th Clinical Support Group of the United States Government from 2009 to 2011. He was appointed as pharmacy consultant to the surgeon general and associate chief for pharmacy from 2008 to 2009. His involvement in professional and civic organizations has included membership on the ONU College of Pharmacy Advisory Board; leadership positions in pharmacy at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; and commander of a medical support squadron at Lajes Field in Azores, Portugal. In 2001, he received the United States Air Force Maxine Beatty Award (Field Grade Pharmacist of the Year). In 2007, he was awarded the USAF Pharmacy of the Year. He received the Excellence in Pharmacy Operations Award in 2008 at the Military Health System Conference. This was followed by the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Air Force Pharmacy in 2010.

In addition to his role as guest speaker, Butler will receive an honorary degree from the Raabe College of Pharmacy.

At the undergraduate ceremony, Broun will be awarded an honorary degree. Ohio Northern also will award additional honorary degrees to Robert Kerscher, a 1970 ONU Bachelor of Science in Business Administration graduate, and Nils Riess, retiring longtime director of the Freed Center of the Performing Arts.

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.

Kerscher 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 ONU.

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. One such venture was the development of the International Play Festival at ONU. This one-of-a-kind concept cannot be found in other institutions of higher education. 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.

Doors to the ONU Sports Center will open for the pharmacy commencement ceremony Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Guests should arrive by 8 a.m. The musical prelude will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the procession of faculty and students.

Doors for the undergraduate commencement ceremony will open Sunday at 12:30 p.m. 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.