Three nationally-known speakers will highlight a busy commencement weekend at Monmouth College May 10 – 12.
Former U.S. Senator and governor Bob Graham will deliver the address at the college’s 156th commencement exercises, which will conclude the weekend on May 12 at noon on the Wallace Hall plaza. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Huff Athletic Center.
The weekend’s festivities will begin with the dedication ceremony for the college’s new Center for Science and Business on May 10 at 3 p.m. On May 11 at 3 p.m., the traditional baccalaureate service will be held in Dahl Chapel.
Prior to the dedication ceremony, where WGN Radio personality Orion Samuelson will provide the keynote address, tours of the building will be held from 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Samuelson has served as WGN’s agribusiness director since 1960. For 30 years, he hosted the station’s “U.S. Farm Report.” Inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003, Samuelson now hosts “This Week in Agribusiness.” He is the author of “You Can’t Dream Big Enough,” which traces his story from his humble beginnings on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin to America’s most recognizable voice of agriculture.
“Monmouth College has audacious goals,” said President Mauri Ditzler. “We expect that the Center for Science and Business is going to produce graduates who will change the world. It seems entirely appropriate that our keynote speaker has written a book titled ‘You Can’t Dream Big Enough,’ and that he’s also happened to spend his career at the intersection of science and business.”
Sen. Graham, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree prior to addressing the graduates, served as the 38th governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987, followed by an 18-year term as senator. He was a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination and was considered as a possible running mate for both Al Gore and John Kerry.
The son of a Florida state senator, Graham was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1966. At retirement, he had served 38 consecutive years in public office. As governor, Graham emphasized education and placed a focus on improvement of the public universities in the state. By the end of his second term, the state university system was among the first quartile of state systems in America and Florida’s public schools and community colleges had substantially improved their academic standing.
In 2009, he published “America, The Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work for You,” a book that aims to inspire and teach citizens how they can participate in their democracy in effective ways. That message ties directly into Monmouth College’s emphasis on inspiring students to lead and serve society using democratic principles.
Senior Kathryn Shipp of Ladd, president of the Associated Students of Monmouth College, will present welcoming remarks. Michelle Hutchison of Galesburg, Student Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, will be a featured speaker, and class president Kayla Corzine of Danville will deliver the farewell address on behalf of the seniors.
In keeping with a recent MC tradition, a pre-college teacher will bring greetings and congratulations to the graduates. This year’s teacher, Kevin Trow, a 2002 Monmouth College graduate, teaches science at Buffalo Grove High School. He was nominated by graduating senior Roy Sye.
This year’s baccalaureate speaker is Dr. Rodger Nishioka, who holds the Benton Family chair in Christian education as an associate professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. He is also one of the most sought-after and inspiring preachers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).