Waynesburg University held its 166th Commencement exercises Sunday, May 6, honoring more than 400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from the Waynesburg campus as well as the University’s additional sites in Cranberry, Penn Center East and Southpointe.
Mr. David Barensfeld, president and CEO of Ellwood Group Inc., delivered the Commencement Address, “Let’s Make Something of It.”
Barensfeld’s vision and leadership of Ellwood Group have led to economic power as well as prosperity and security in small towns across the United States. Described by Barensfeld as the “village blacksmith to the world,” Ellwood Group makes steel forgings that are assembled into high tech equipment for shipment around the world.
During his commencement address, Barensfeld shared the philosophy that has led his company to success, including strategic risk, hard work and “ownership as stewardship.”
“For me, the word steward means you don’t feel that you are the sole owner of your business, with arbitrary freedom to sell it or shut it down on your own whim,” Barensfeld said. “Instead, you owe an on-going duty to your stakeholders—your customers, your employees and your shareholders—to do your best to try and carry on in good times and in bad, and to try and do better tomorrow than you did today.”
Barensfeld also explored the effects of real charity and the importance of successful entrepreneurs serving humanitarian needs, reminding those in attendance that while we are our brother’s keeper, we should also remember that he is our equal.
The following graduates were named valedictorians: Tara Barnard, an early childhood/special education graduate from Millerstown, Pennsylvania; Rachel Eng, an accounting graduate from Elon, North Carolina; Sydney Flick, a criminal justice administration graduate from Ebensburg, Pennsylvania; and R.J. Leon, a finance graduate from Brookfield, Ohio.
Leon delivered the valedictory to the University. Dr. Thomas DeGeorge, who received a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision, represented the graduate and professional studies students.
Prior to the commencement ceremony, the Rev. Dr. Stuart Broberg, senior pastor of The Church of the Covenant in Washington, Pennsylvania, and longtime Waynesburg University Trustee, delivered the Baccalaureate Address, “The Not Too Hidden Secret,” during which he referenced Colossians 1:21-29 and shared some background on the University’s return to its Christian roots, a vision which began more than 25 years ago.
“We dreamed – it could be a place where service and learning were brought together in the best and brightest of students. It could be a place where faith was central to everything else that went on here,” said Broberg, who also expressed his joy at the University’s successful transformation.
Broberg concluded by issuing a challenge to graduates.
“Don’t just settle for moving a little molehill,” he said. “Only settle on moving a mountain in the power of God. It is no secret what God can do.”
The University awarded the following degrees to graduates: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.