Indiana Wesleyan University said farewell to more than 2,200 students and seven faculty members during three graduation ceremonies Saturday at IWU’s Chapel-Auditorium.
Five hundred of the spring graduates earned degrees through traditional classes on IWU’s residential campus in Marion. The other graduates took classes either online or at IWU education centers and other sites in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Two of the traditional graduates, Elizabeth Erin Pfotenhauer and Thomas Joseph Collins, were honored as valedictorians of the class of 2011. Pfotenhauer, from Mooresville, Indiana, majored in English and writing. Collins, from Marion, Indiana, majored in computer software engineering.
Seven faculty members, who collectively served IWU for a total of 140 years, retired at the end of the academic year and participated in their final graduations. The retiring professors and their years of service were:• Dr. Richard Barnhart, professor of Computer and Information Sciences, two years.• Professor Carol Bence, chair of Post-licensure Nursing, 21 years.• Dr. Clarence “Bud” Bence, professor of Religion, 22 years.• Dr. Robert Harper, associate professor of Liberal Arts, 20 years.• Professor Betty Porter, assistant professor of English, 20 years.• Professor Terry Porter, associate professor of Mathematics, 45 years.• Professor Sharon Stephenson, assistant professor of English, 10 years.
Harold B. Smith, the President and CEO of Christianity Today International, spoke at each of the graduation ceremonies. Smith, who joined Christianity Today magazine in 1984, received a presidential citation.
Erik Longenecker, an elementary education major from Marion, Indiana, was honored as Senior of the Year. Dr. Charles Bressler, a professor of English, was named Professor of the Year. Bressler also is the Senior Scholar for Undergraduate Research for the John Wesleyan Honors College.
The awards for the top senior and the top professor are given by IWU’s Student Government Association and are determined by student votes.
Dr. Jim Lo, Dean of the Chapel, received the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award, and Dr. Bud Bence received the IWU World Changing Faculty Award.
Candidates for the faculty awards are nominated by their peers, and winners are selected by a committee of faculty members and academic administrators. Nominees must be full-time faculty members at IWU for at least two years.