ATHENS, Ohio (June 12, 2004) -- Recognized historian and author David McCullough emphasized the importance of understanding and embracing the lessons of history to understand the present to the more than 3,000 graduates when he addressed Ohio University's undergraduate commencement ceremonies today.
"How can we know who we are and what we stand for, and where we're headed, if we don't know how we got to where we are and at what cost? What risk we run if the rise of such a great institution as this and the privilege of education are even taken for granted," McCullough said.
He encouraged graduates to continue their education by reading. "If my experience is any guide, for all that you've read in your years here, the most important books in your life are still to come."
And as for some practical advice, McCullough offered this bit of wisdom, "Whenever you check out of a hotel or motel, never forget to tip the maid."
McCullough, a Yale graduate, is the author of "John Adams," a 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winner for biography. He began his career writing for magazines, but eventually turned to historical narrative. His other historical works include "Truman" (1992), which also won a Pulitzer Prize; "Brave Companions" (1992), essays on heroic figures past and present; and "Mornings on Horseback" (1981), about the young Theodore Roosevelt. McCullough has also hosted several public television shows including "Smithsonian World" and "The American Experience," and narrated Ken Burns' documentary "The Civil War."
A Pittsburgh, Pa., native, McCullough lives with his wife, Rosalee, in West Tisbury, Mass. They have five children. The morning undergraduate commencement ceremony recognized bachelor and associate degree candidates in the colleges of Business, Communication, Fine Arts, and Health and Human Services. The afternoon session honored candidates in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, and Engineering and Technology, as well as those in Honors Tutorial College, University College and Regional Higher Education. Both undergraduate ceremonies were streamed live on the Web. Visit the university Web site on Tuesday to watch highlights.
Also at today's ceremonies, honorary degrees were conferred on Riste Gusterov, N. Victor Goodman and McCullough, who received the doctor of humane letters; the Founders Citation was presented to Charles Emrick Jr. and Joan Galbreath Phillips; and university professors Raymond Frost and Arthur Trese were honored as Presidential Teachers.
Morgan Vis, associate professor of environmental and plant biology, addressed the graduate commencement ceremony June 11. The commencement ceremony for the College of Osteopathic Medicine was held June 5. The Cleveland Clinic's Leonard Calabrese, D.O., an AIDS treatment pioneer and former Philips Medal recipient, addressed those graduates.
An engineer by education, Gusterov, who is president of RIMACO Group of Companies in his native Republic of Macedonia, where he is active in political, government and civic activities, received the doctor of laws honorary degree. He has endowed two Cutler Scholar Awards – scholarships that provide full room, board, tuition and expenses, along with required summer experiences – for students from Macedonia. In addition, he has provided supplemental funding for three other Macedonian students to attend Ohio University. Gusterov was honored for outstanding civic accomplishments, noteworthy success in business and remarkable philanthropic support of Macedonian students who are studying at Ohio University.
A partner with the Columbus firm of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, Goodman, who was presented with the honorary degree doctor of public service, is one of the most conscientious and devoted volunteers for higher education in the state of Ohio. He served 14 years on the Ohio Board of Regents and was a member of the Governor's Commission on Higher Education and the Economy. On a national level, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in Washington, D.C., the organization that oversees all college and university accreditation in the country. He was a member and chair of the university Board of Trustees and is a trustee of The Ohio University Foundation Board.
Emrick is a former trustee of Ohio University, an emeritus trustee of The Ohio University Foundation and co-chaired the university's highly successful Bicentennial Campaign, which concludes at the end of this month having surpassed its $200 million goal. A respected attorney, he was a senior partner with the Cleveland law firm of Calfee, Halter & Griswold for many years, and currently serves as owner, senior vice president and managing director of the TransAction Group, a firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions.
Phillips became the first woman to chair the Ohio University Board of Trustees. When she started her 21 years of service on the board in 1973, she was the second woman to serve as a trustee. She also was a member of The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees and the College of Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Committee. Her gifts to the university have benefited intercollegiate athletics as well as the colleges of Fine Arts, Communication and Health and Human Services; libraries; and other areas. A 1946 graduate of the College of Education, she has been honored by her alma mater with a Medal of Merit, an Alumna of the Year award and the foundation's highest honor, the John C. Baker Founders' Award.
The Founders Citation is the highest honor presented by the Board of Trustees. Recipients have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to Ohio University, whether as faculty or staff members, loyal alumni, devoted volunteers or generous philanthropists. The citation honors them for significant and singular contributions to excellence of Ohio's first university.
PRESIDENTIAL TEACHER AWARDS
Frost is a professor of management information systems in the university's College of Business and has been an Ohio University faculty member since 1999. His areas of research interest include database management systems, electronic commerce, telecommunications and project-based learning. He is the author or co-author of 10 textbooks and nearly 20 refereed publications.
An Ohio University faculty member since 1990, Trese is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on biology of nodulation and nodule senescence, and organic herbicides made from corn by-products. He has published in a variety of respected professional journals including Phytopathology, Plant Physiology and Mycologia.
The Presidential Teacher Awards were established to identify faculty for their excellence as teachers both inside and outside the classroom. Those selected for the Presidential Teacher Award receive a three-year stipend and hold the title "Presidential Teacher" for that time.
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Editors: Photos of today's undergraduate commencement ceremony can be downloaded from the Web after 4 p.m.: