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Edinboro University to present honorary degree to former Gov. Ridge at commencement May 10


Thomas J. Ridge, the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security and former Pennsylvania Governor, will be awarded an honorary doctorate on Saturday, May 10, during Edinboro University’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.

The presentation of the honorary degree by Edinboro President Julie E. Wollman and Ridge’s commencement address will highlight the 10 a.m. ceremony in the University’s McComb Fieldhouse.  Associate and bachelor’s degrees will be conferred upon 738 undergraduates at the event.

The Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony honoring the academic success of 189 recipients of master’s degrees and post-graduate certificates will be held at 2 p.m. in Louis C. Cole Auditorium – Memorial Hall.

Erie favorite son Ridge is being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service for his numerous exemplary contributions as a soldier, congressman, governor and cabinet secretary.

He was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania and served as the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after being called to service by President George W. Bush following the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He also is a former six-term congressman and a Vietnam veteran.

Since the end of his tenure as a cabinet secretary in 2005, Tom Ridge has served as president and chief executive of Ridge Global, which helps businesses and governments address risk management, global trade security, emergency preparedness and other needs.

Other speakers at the event will include Council of Trustees Chairman John E. Horan, who will provide a greeting; Edinboro University Alumni Association Board of Directors President Mary Timashenka, who will welcome the graduates to the ranks of EU alumni; and student speaker Meagen Finnerty, of Freedom, Pa., who is graduating Summa Cum Laude, with highest honors, with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies with dual concentrations in print journalism and public relations.

Student speaker for the Graduate Student Commencement will be Laurie Lawrence, of Erie, who is receiving a Master of Arts in Communication Studies.

Additional participants in the ceremonies will include Dr. Peter van den Honert of Edinboro University’s Music Department, who will lead the academic procession and represent his faculty colleagues by carrying the Ceremonial Mace for the Undergraduate Commencement. Dr. Douglas Puharic of the Math and Computer Science Department will be the Mace Bearer for the Graduate Commencement Ceremony.

Combined, the ceremonies will honor the academic success of 926 students – one of Edinboro’s largest graduating classes ever.

 Graduation Day Facts

  • Latin honors will be awarded to 251 students: 79 will graduate Summa Cum Laude (3.8 to 4.0 grade point average); 83 will graduate Magna Cum Laude (3.6 to 3.79 grade point average); and 89 will graduate Cum Laude (3.4 to 3.59 grade point average).
  • 344 graduating students reside in Erie County; 98 are from Crawford County.
  • 613 graduates are female; 313 are male.
  • 70 majors will be represented, with Fine Arts – Applied Media Arts (71), Business Administration (50), Social Work (49), Nursing (44) and Criminal Justice (40) being the largest groups.
  • The oldest graduate is 64; the youngest, 19.

 Live video of both ceremonies will be streamed on; the ceremonies also will be telecast live by the University’s student-run television station, ETV.