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Graduate commencement speaker offers words of wisdom

Photos by Rick FaticaATHENS, Ohio (June 10, 2005) -- Daniel Modaff, associate professor in School of Communication Studies of the College of Communication, gave parting words to the approximately 850 master's and doctoral graduates at Ohio University's graduate commencement today in the Convocation Center.

"You have worked hard - sacrificed, struggled and now secured a future for you, your family and community that was not possible before you began this degree," he said.

Modaff received the 2004 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award and was honored by students as a University Professor in 1997 and again in 2005. He teaches a variety of courses including organizational communication, small-group discussion, organizational culture and conversational analysis.

Modaff's area of research interest involves the organizing principles of the Sioux Indians. He spent time living on Indian Reservations talking to the elders of the tribes in an attempt to understand their way of life. In his speech, Modaff shared words of wisdom from what he had learned.

"While I was on the reservations, the elders taught me quite a bit about their value system. Undergirding this system is the concept of mitakuye oyasin, translated as 'we are all related' or 'all my relatives.' To treat others as relatives was to be kind, generous, courteous and unselfish to them all," he said. "Now imagine for a moment treating clients, patients, coworkers and students as kin or relatives and all that implies for how we interact with them. I can only surmise that it would be significantly different from how most of us go about our day-to-day interactions currently."photos by Rick Fatica

Modaff has been a member of the Ohio University faculty since 1995. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from Northern Illinois University and a doctorate in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jessie Davis, vice president of Graduate Student Senate, also greeted the graduates.

"As you leave Ohio University, take some time to remember all you have done here; the friends you met, the challenges you faced and the success you have found. Cherish those memories as you move on in your lives, sharing the knowledge you have gained to all you meet," he said.

Photos by Rick FaticaWorld-renowned artist and Ohio University alumna Arlene "Phoebe" Beasley will address more than 3,000 undergraduates at Ohio University's undergraduate commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11, in the Convocation Center. The commencement ceremony for the College of Osteopathic Medicine was held June 4, in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

This year's commencements are the first for Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis since taking office July 1, 2004. McDavis earned a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio University in 1970.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu; Pager: (740) 290-4479

Editors: Photos of today's graduate commencement ceremony can be downloaded from the Web at:

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