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Moravian College to Hold Commencement on May 13

The Ceremony will conclude the 264th academic year at Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pa., May 6, 2005—Moravian College will hold commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, beginning at 10:00 a.m., in the outdoor quadrangle behind the Haupert Union Building on the Main Street Campus. The ceremony will conclude the 264th academic year at Moravian, America’s sixth-oldest college. In the event of rain, the program will be held in Johnston Hall. The College will grant degrees to approximately 354 bachelor degree candidates, 12 Master of Business Administration degree candidates, and 26 Master of Education degree candidates.

The College will present an honorary doctorate to three individuals who have been central to Moravian’s success during the past decade: Betsey Tait Puth, a distinguished alumna and life trustee of Moravian College; Dr. Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary; and Pamela Rokke, wife of Moravian’s president.

Moravian College will honor Puth, who served on the Moravian College Board of Trustees for more than 14 years, with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. During her tenure as a trustee at Moravian, Puth served as a member of the Commission on the Future Task Force and the Global Engagement Task Force; she has been an avid and generous supporter of the College’s fine arts programs. A philanthropist with a special love of education and the arts, Puth has had a long of history of community service in leadership positions with organizations in the Chicago area such as the Music Institute of Chicago, Chicago Foundation for Education, Hadley School for the Blind, Terra Museum of American Art, Kenilworth Union Church, Garden Guild of Winnetka, and the Town & Country Arts Club. She has served also on the boards of the Children’s Hospital and Shady Side Academy, both located in Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1999, Betsey and her husband John established the Puth Foundation, for which she serves as secretary/treasurer.

President Rokke is being honored for his nine years of service at the helm of the College and Seminary. His presidency has been marked by widespread institutional change that has included significant increases in both the quality and quantity of the student body, revised curricula and new academic programs, and major improvements to campus infrastructure. Mrs. Priscilla Payne Hurd, Chair of the Moravian Board of Trustees, recently observed that “Erv Rokke has been one of Moravian’s finest and most successful presidents. Even by the standards of an institution that has existed for 264 years, his leadership, his integrity, and his achievement are extraordinary. By a huge measure, he has raised the quality of our students and programs, he has raised new buildings on our campuses, and he has raised our hopes and ambitions for an even brighter future. For nine very good years, we have been blessed and honored by his leadership and by his friendship.”

Before his appointment as Moravian’s president, Dr. Rokke completed a 35-year military career distinguished by operational, diplomatic, and academic leadership positions. He retired at the rank of lieutenant general in 1997 while serving as President of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Rokke graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1962 and earned his master's degree and doctorate from Harvard University.

Pamela Rokke will be honored for her extensive and steadfast support of College activities at every level, and most especially its students. Mrs. Hurd noted that “Pam Rokke is certainly one of the most gracious individuals who has lived in the president’s house. She is deeply admired by all members of our campus family: students, faculty, and administration alike.” For six years, Mrs. Rokke also served as an active member of the Board of Directors of New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem.

Recently the Rokkes were recognized for their contributions to the City of Bethlehem with a day dedicated in their honor. “Erv and Pam Rokke have sustained and increased the many contributions of Moravian College and Seminary to the value and beauty of the Bethlehem community, including the education of our children, an acclaimed musical heritage, extensive economic activity, and the aesthetic of a lovely campus,” said Mayor John B, Callahan. “They have closely linked the rising star of Moravian College and Seminary to that of Bethlehem, through increased collaboration and friendship with our businesses, schools, individual leaders, and government officials.”

In honor of a longstanding Moravian College tradition, the graduating class recently elected a faculty member and a student to speak at the commencement ceremony. Dr. Gary Olson has been selected to give the Statement to the Graduates. Olson, professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science, has been teaching at Moravian since 1974. A graduate of Concordia College, he received his M.A. from the University of South Dakota, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.

Todd William Bennett (Annendale, New Jersey), class of 2006, will deliver the Statement of the Bachelor's Graduates. Bennett pursued a double major in Psychology and Sociology. During his college career, he participated as a mentor for The Learning Connection (TLC); served as an ambassador of the College in the Twenty-Six Points program; was a delegate in his junior year to the Washington Seminar Program on Peace and Conflict Resolution; served as a Resident Advisor (RA) for two years and as a Resident Director (RD) for one year. Bennett was inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society and twice earned dean’s list standing.

Carolyn Elliott Evans (Easton, Pa.), a candidate for the M.Ed., was selected to deliver the Statement of the Master’s Graduates. She is coordinator of the English Department at Easton Area High School. A graduate of Easton Area High School, and Beaver College (now Arcadia University), Elliot Evans has taught in the Easton Area School district for more than 30 years. She taught at Easton Junior High, Shawnee Intermediate School, and Easton Area High School. She has been a National Writing Project Fellow, and semi-finalist for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

The Moravian College baccalaureate service is scheduled for Friday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m., in Central Moravian Church. The honored speaker will be Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Ph.D., D.D., the Archbishop of Washington and Chancellor of The Catholic University of America.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Moravian College Web site at http://www.moravian.edu. For more information on commencement at Moravian, visit http://www.moravian.edu/studentLife/commencement/index.htm