SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Author Judith Viorst will present Wittenberg University’s 2003 Commencement address during the May 17 ceremony in Commencement Hollow. Tradition continues as this year’s Commencement speaker was selected by the members of the 2003 Senior Class officers including President Jennifer Grossman, a history major from Baltimore, Md.; Vice President Kathleen Gorman, a psychology major from Sylvania, Ohio; Treasurer Amanda Clapp, a communication major from Kent, Ohio; and Secretary Lauren Threlkeld, a psychology major from Cincinnati, Ohio.
“We felt really strongly about bringing a female voice to share advice with the graduates, and we think Viorst displays a charismatic personality having written books for both adults and children and a column in Redbook Magazine for more than two decades,” Grossman said. “We’re excited to hear what she will tell us about her experiences and about life after college.”
Viorst is the author of more than 30 books, half for adults and half for children. Her titles include “Necessary Losses,” intended for adults, and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” which was written for children. “Necessary Losses” spent nearly two years on The New York Times bestseller list. Her latest book titled “A Grown-Up Marriage” was published earlier this year by Simon & Schuster.
In addition, Viorst is the author of seven collections of poems for adults, and many of her children’s books have been made into short films. Her musical, “Love & Shrimp,” starring Eileen Barnett, Bonnie Franklin and Mariette Hartley, has been performed in Los Angeles and New York, among other cities. A musical version of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” with the play and lyrics written by Viorst, was commissioned by and performed at the Kennedy Center, and it is now being performed at theatres across the country.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Viorst received a B.A. in history from Rutgers University, where she was also Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1981, after six years of study, she graduated from the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. Viorst resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Milton, who is an author of several critically acclaimed political books.
The Class of 2003 has chosen a few lines from the movie “Hope Floats” as its motto: “Beginnings are usually scary. Endings are often sad, but the middle is what counts.”
Grossman said the Class of 2003 has been tested several times throughout its time at Wittenberg with world events such as Sept. 11, 2001 and the war with Iraq. Such events have “brought us together and made us ready to move forward,” Grossman said.
This year’s Commencement will also honor the first master’s degree graduates from Wittenberg University since the 1980s. Three students from Wittenberg’s new Master of Arts in Education program will receive their diplomas on Saturday. The day will also mark the first class of graduating seniors to receive a B.A.in communication, Wittenberg’s newest and fastest growing major. In addition, four honorary degrees will be presented.
Wittenberg University, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, promotes a style of education that emphasizes high academic achievement, personal attention and a faculty that is dedicated to teaching excellence. With more than 40 academic majors, more than 100 campus organizations and 22 intercollegiate sports, students enjoy a dynamic learning environment dedicated to intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, social and physical development.
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