and friends packed the standing-room-only HPERC to celebrate with the
460 graduates, 79 of whom were from Clark County and the surrounding
Judith Viorst, author of more than 30 books for both adults and children,
including Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad
Day and Necessary Losses, which spent nearly two years
on the New York Times bestseller list, presented the keynote address.
In her speech, Viorst, who received an honorary doctorate of humane
letters at the ceremony, welcomed the graduates into the “grown-up”
world and urged them to take responsibility for their decisions.
“Actions have consequences,” said Viorst, adding that growing
up “is always a work in progress.”
Jennifer Grossman, president of the Class of 2003 and a history major
from Baltimore, Md., also addressed the graduates, reminding them of
the close relationships with professors that made such a difference
in their Wittenberg careers.
“Our faculty have supported us through our development as individuals
and have seen us through our most treasured experiences at Witt,”
year’s Commencement exercises also included a number of firsts.
Lisa Dooley Cunningham ’94 became the first person to graduate
with a master’s degree since the 1980s thanks to Wittenberg’s
new master of arts in education program. The day also marked the first
class of graduating seniors to receive a B.A. in communication, Wittenberg’s
newest and fastest growing major.
In addition, a father and a son who have chosen different paths to improve
life in war-torn Liberia were recognized with degrees. Samuel Harris,
the son, received a B.S. in biology at the ceremony, while his father,
Sumoward Harris, president of the Liberian Council of Churches, received
an honorary doctorate of divinity.