Antioch University Midwest Celebrates 25th Commencement as 118 Students Graduate

Award-winning independent filmmaker Julia Reichert gives commencement address

YELLOW SPRINGS, OH ― Antioch University Midwest conferred undergraduate and graduate degrees to 118 graduates at its commencement ceremony at the Schuster Center in Dayton, Ohio Sunday afternoon.

University President Dr. Ellen Wood Hall welcomed the graduates and their families and stated that “Today, all eyes are upon our graduates. This is as it should be.”

Antioch University Midwest Board of Trustees Chair, Phil Parker said, “This is the day that our volunteer Board works for – this is about people getting great educations and going on to do greater things with their lives.”

Bruce Bedford, Board of Governors member of Antioch University, offered to the graduates, “You should be very proud of your accomplishments in earning this degree. This is a great achievement for you and your community,” he said. “But with accomplishment comes responsibility. More will be expected of you by your community, your family, and more importantly, of yourself.”

“Know that as you go forward, you will bring who you are, you will bring the values of Antioch in your lives,” said Antioch University Chancellor Felice Nudelman. “You will help follow the mission and values of Antioch University that will bring about great change.”

Student Representatives shared their experiences and insights regarding their time at Antioch and how they expect it to affect them as they move forward.

Undergraduate Studies: Karn Singh “Whether our discipline is management, health and wellness, human services administration, early childhood education, creative writing, sustainability or the humanities, our education is not divided at Antioch. Our education weaves, builds a strong and diverse foundation that acts as a springboard for its students. Today we see a graduating class poised and ready to win victories for humanity and this is the genius of Antioch University. We stand here today as better versions of ourselves and we thank you deeply for what we have achieved.”

Individualized Master of Arts: Rebecca Holihan “Our achievements come from our private victories that make room for our public ones.”

Conflict Analysis and Engagement: Darshana Patel, “We have learned that the distance between us is only as large as our desire to see our differences from another. Go forth and do not be disillusioned but rather seek to disillusion. And as we move forward, remember these words from Socrates, ‘the secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.’”

Management and Leading Change: Deborah Moore “Our degree is a symbol of adversity, stress, accomplishment, pride and dedication. There may have been times that we stumbled but we were never alone. To all who contributed to the brilliance of each graduate, thank you.”

Teacher Education: Janice Smith, “Overwhelming is how I would describe that first meeting at Antioch. I questioned my ability to keep my full-time job and attend classes two nights per week. My classmates supported and encouraged each other throughout the journey. We graduate today well-prepared and highly qualified to enter the teaching profession. We leave today with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and also we leave with a sense of self, which for me, was completely unexpected.”

Educational Leadership: Adrienne Wiley “There’s more to a master’s degree than just a piece of paper. It’s not a matter of filling in the blanks to get a master’s degree. One of the things I’ve learned about being an educational leader is that the act of leadership is inspiring and motivating others to share your dream. Antioch has given us the necessary tools to educate, motivate and inspire the youth of 2013.”

Vernetta Willett, a 2013 graduate of the Individualized Master of Arts program, sang “You Raise Me Up” to a standing ovation. Ms. Willett is part of the Jeremy Winston Chorale, the award-winning choir group that was invited to perform for President and Mrs. Obama at the White House in December 2012. Willett received her M.A. in social sciences where she focused on how music education enhances literacy development in middle school students.

Award-winning independent filmmaker Julia Reichert gave the commencement address. “As a storyteller, my job is to bear witness to intimate and to grand human events. I believe very much in listening. I believe in stories. The average age of this graduating class is 42, which means you know about reinvention – about reinventing yourself. You know about the sacrifice to you and to your families, who are here to support you. For the past year, my partner and I have been working on a project called “reinvention stories” about people in the Greater Dayton area. As part of the project, we have interviewed dozens of people and a few common lessons began to emerge.

“First, have a dream that you hold dearly. A dream that withstands hard winds and cold rains. Second, review that dream on a daily basis. Work hard at it. Third, don’t go it alone. Don’t fall for the myth of the cowboy hero in America. Build your team of family and friends. And fourth, try and fail and try and fail and try again. Today is a day to honor your successes but also to remember the failures that got you here. I wish you many useful failures.”

Steven Brzezinski, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, offered the University’s appreciation for the service of Richard McGuigan, Ph.D., Director of School of Integral Studies, and Diane Nelson, Ph.D., Chair of Early Childhood Education, as they are leaving Antioch Midwest at the end of the year.

Antioch University also awarded its highest honor – the conferral of an Honorary Doctorate of the University to Board of Governors member Bruce Bedford who was recognized for his 17 years of service and generous support to Antioch University and Antioch University Midwest.

The final activity of the ceremony was the awarding of Faculty Emeritus Status for Dr. Steven Brzezinski, Retiring Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chair, Management and Human Services Administration programs. Dr. Brzezinski served Antioch University Midwest for many years as both a teaching faculty member and an administrator in numerous capacities. During his remarks, Dr. Brzezinski shared, “I have done this for these years because of you (students) who are sitting here and have sat here and because of the faculty and administration who have supported me. Today, I also feel like a graduate of Antioch University Midwest.”

President Hall concluded the ceremony with a tradition of Antioch University, a remembrance of Horace Mann, the first president of Antioch. In 1859, at the last commencement ceremony over which he presided before his death, Mann spoke these words: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” President Hall continued, “The legacy of Mann’s final exhortation finds life in Antioch’s commitment to socially-engaged citizenship. It means, in plain words, that we count on you to use what you have learned to make your home, your schools, your community and this world, more fair, more just. It is the responsibility of each of you to live up to Horace Mann’s ideal of the Antioch Graduate.”

The AntiochUniversityMidwest Graduating Class of 2013 BACHELOR OF ARTS

B.A. in Early Childhood Education
Suzanne Marie Baker, Dayton, Ohio
Kelly Ann Brophy, Brookville, Ohio
Sara Ann Buxton, Centerville, Ohio
Jessica Ann Gibson, Dayton, Ohio
Jennifer Nicol Jackson, Dayton, Ohio
Elizabeth M. Jerome, Englewood, Ohio
Melissa Dawn Ross, Piqua, Ohio
Stacey Ann Shook, Kettering, Ohio

B.A. in Health and Wellness
Lisa Nicole Bratton, Vandalia, Ohio
Sandra Lynn Gebele, Huber Heights, Ohio
Amy M. Motter, Dayton, Ohio
Michelle Dawn Norman, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Amanda Victoria Sweitzer, Fairborn, Ohio

B.A. in Health and Wellness and Human Development
Tina Marie Hurd, Springfield, Ohio

B.A. in Human Services Administration
Janet Iris Fedrick, Huber Heights, Ohio
Gail Lynn Nies, West Carrollton, Ohio

B.A. in Humanities
Debra Lelia Colvin Ahmed, Fairborn, Ohio
Lisa G. O’Hearn, Dayton, Ohio
Karn Singh, Dayton, Ohio

B.A. in Liberal Arts: Creative Writing Concentration
Lisa M. Bishop, Tipp City, Ohio
Jeanette Elaine Cook, Urbana, Ohio
Ronald E. Maynard, Bellbrook, Ohio
Amanda L. Winfield, Miamisburg, Ohio

B.A. in Management
Erric Devin Bailey, Huber Heights, Ohio
Jessica Anne Barry, Miamisburg, Ohio
Jerry Allan Kenney, Dayton, Ohio
Leigh Ann Kirk, Kettering, Ohio
Michael Christopher Magee, Miamisburg, Ohio
Paul David Powell, Dayton, Ohio
Mark Allen Whitt, Xenia, Ohio

B.A. in Sustainability
Stella Kerstin Savage, Franklin, Ohio
Kane Andrew Thompson, Miamisburg, Ohio

The Antioch University Midwest Graduating Class of 2013 MASTER OF ARTS

Individualized Masters of Arts
Cory David Barker, Brainerd, Minnesota (Epistemology)
Robin Marie Burnam, Dayton, Ohio (Social Sciences)
Elisha G. Hall, Chicago, Illinois (Social Sciences)
Katherine Mary Hart, Jupiter, Florida (Creative Writing)
Rebecca Ann Holihan, Yellow Springs, Ohio (Philosophy)
Karen Renée Hunt, Dayton, Ohio (Social Sciences)
Brian Patrick Good, Carpenteria, California (Philosophy)
Angela Griffin Jones, Dayton, Ohio (Women, Spirituality and Community Change)
Miriam S. Karp, Cincinnati, Ohio (Creative Jewish Expression)
Catherine Nyssa Paige, Yellow Springs, Ohio (Whole Systems and Social Change)
Demitra Papadinis, Loudon, New Hampshire (Shakespearean Text and Performance)
Christopher Charles Parrish, Woodstock, Illinois (Screenwriting)
Michele Ranae Powell, Arlington, Ohio (Creative Writing)
Ranee Alison Spina, Studio City, CA (Holistic Health & Sexuality Education)
Maria Suzanne Wilder, Vandalia, Ohio (Social Sciences)
Vernetta Ruth Willett, Yellow Springs, Ohio (Social Sciences) 

Conflict Analysis and Engagement

Adult Development Concentration
Amanda Rose Bryant, Beavercreek, Ohio
Lynn Gentry, Cincinnati, Ohio
Rhonda S. McLaughlin, Lebanon, Ohio

Organizational Conflict and Leadership Concentration
Luli Osmani, Columbus, Ohio
Darshana Patel, Cumming, Georgia

Management and Leading Change
LaQuata Renee Barnes, Xenia, Ohio
Robert Joseph Craig, Dayton, Ohio
Tammy L. D’Alto, Dayton, Ohio
Deborah A. Moore, Fairborn, Ohio

Human Resources Concentration
Melinda Chiffonya White, Dayton, Ohio


Adolescent/Young Adult Education
Jaime L. Adoff, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Elizabeth A. Casanova, Kettering, Ohio
Megan Riese Delorit, Dayton, Ohio
Nicole A. Harestad, Vandalia, Ohio
Thomas Leo Johnson, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Suzanne N. Long, Riverside, Ohio
Mary Patricia Malone, Marion, Ohio
Christopher David McIntosh, Huber Heights, Ohio
Abigail B. Pifer, Kettering, Ohio
Jeffery Scott Rodney, Beavercreek, Ohio
Dalyn May Sauers, Miamisburg, Ohio

Early Childhood Education
Mollianne Elizabeth Bell, Quincy, Ohio
Brandy Bryant, Columbus, Ohio
Leslie A. Crawford, Fairborn, Ohio
Rebecca Kay Gunter, Brookville, Ohio
Colin Lee Mack, Centerville, Ohio
Monika Miller, Westerville, Ohio
Aimee Susan Obermeyer, Dayton, Ohio
Jennifer Renee Siders, Clarksville, Ohio
Janice Ey’vonne Smith, Cincinnati, Ohio
Emily Nicole Wendt, Springfield, Ohio

Intervention Specialist
Margaret Cadwallader, Jamestown, Ohio
Shannon Matté Culbreath, Columbus, Ohio
Adrianne Elise Daniels, Trotwood, Ohio
Todd Michael Galownia, Mansfield, Ohio
Justin Allen Guy, West Chester, Ohio
Lynette Boles Harden, Trotwood, Ohio
Sandra Y. Harris, Springboro, Ohio
Mary Elizabeth Haug, Dayton, Ohio
Burt L. Hill, Mason, Ohio
Sara Elizabeth Hoker, Centerville, Ohio
Mallory Lynn Isaacs, Englewood, Ohio
Dustin Joseph Jeter, Huber Heights, Ohio
Maurice Fontaine Kidd, Dayton, Ohio
Paul Frederick Lambert, Columbus, Ohio
Jennille Antoinette Love-Allen, Englewood, Ohio
Kathryn Jean MacMullen, Huber Heights, Ohio
Salvatrice Maldonado, Gahanna, Ohio
Erin Shaney Messer, Centerville, Ohio
Rita Monaghan, Springfield, Ohio
Kimberly A. Norsworthy, Dayton, Ohio
Shannon Rae Phillips, Dayton, Ohio
Akima Malika Pressley, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Holly Alison Pressley, Kettering, Ohio
Broake Preston, Washington Court House, Ohio
Dorothy Jo Rader, Mount Sterling, Ohio
Heather R. Smith, Carlisle, Ohio
TyGene Laron Trammell, Huber Heights, Ohio
Dominique Vacheresse, Grove City, Ohio
Tracy M. Worthington, Waynesville, Ohio

Middle Childhood Education
Martin Robert Hogue, Centerville, Ohio
Richard Anthony O’Bleness, Fairborn, Ohio
Amanda Marie Rupp, Springfield, Ohio
Jessica Marie Tipkemper, Kings Mills, Ohio
Sara Elizabeth Welty, Urbana, Ohio

Educational Leadership
Lynnette Susan Campbell, Dayton, Ohio
Janean Cardenas, Xenia, Ohio
Misty Edgerton, Englewood, Ohio
Jonelle S. Martin, Springfield, Ohio

Educational Leadership & Ohio Principal Licensure
Adrienne LaChelle Wiley, Dayton, Ohio

About Antioch University Midwest: Antioch University Midwest is one of the five campuses of Antioch University, an institution proud of serving adult learners and their specific needs for twenty-five years. Antioch University is a not for profit 501c3 multi-campus university of more than 4,000 students who study at the Antioch Midwest campus in Yellow Springs, OH, and at campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Keene, New Hampshire, online and around the world!

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Media Contact:
Audrey Treasure
Antioch University Midwest
[email protected]


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