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Bundy, Barron Highlight 2015 Penn State Commencement Speakers

Penn State released its slate of commencement speakers today, and while there will be no Keith Olbermann, the university assembled its usually staid list, but with a few exceptions including Dr. Richard Bundy, President Eric Barron, and Weebly co-founder David Rusenko. The Dickinson School of Law also attracted two notable speakers: United States Senator Kelly Ayotte, and United State solicitor general Donald B. Verrilli Jr..

Penn State expects to hand out nearly 9,000 bachelors degrees this May across the 12 University Park colleges, plus the Schreyer Honors College. Here are the respective speakers for each college at University Park.

College of Agricultural Sciences: Daniel J. Eichenlaub, president and co-founder, Eichenlaub Inc.; Eichenlaub, an architectural engineer from Penn State, oversees a notable design-build landscape firm serving the western portion of the state.

College of Arts and Architecture: Dr. “O” Richard Bundy, professor of music education; Bundy, longtime director of the Penn State Blue Band, will retire from that post in July. He has been a faculty member since 1983, and also owns a music education degree from Penn State. Bundy’s list of honors and achievements is vast, including Penn State President’s Award for Engagement with Students and the Alumni Fellow Award.

Smeal College of Business: Jerome Griffith, chief executive officer and president, TUMI; TUMI is an industry-leading travel lifestyle brand that sells in over 260 stores nationwide. Griffith holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State.

College of Communications: Jayne Jamison, senior vice president and publisher, O, The Oprah Magazine; Jamison is another Penn State graduate that oversees the nation’s top women’s lifestyle magazine with a readership of over two million. Jamison earned the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, the highest award for a Penn State graduate.

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: Joel Darmstadter, economist and senior fellow, Resources for the Future; An energy and environment economist, Darmstadter works for Resources for the Future, a Washington-based nonprofit. In 2014, he won the United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) Adelman-Frankel Award for “Unique and Innovating Contributions to the Field of Energy Economics.”

College of Education: V. Darleen Opfer, director and Distinguished Chair in Education Policy, RAND Education; The director of RAND Education conducts “policy research studies for a number of local, state and national governments worldwide on issues that affect teachers and schools, including recruitment and retention, professional development and impact of policies on teacher practice,” reads the Penn State release.

College of Engineering: Todd Erdley, president and CEO, Videon Central; Erdley has his hands in numerous engineering education ventures, supporting startups and improving the economic health of Pennsylvania. The Videon Central founder, Erdley creates technology that is used through the devices of over 30 million people. Through his work, Erdley has earned recognition through Ernst & Young’s Technology Entrepreneur of the Year, two CBICC Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards, and the Governor’s ImPAct Award.

College of Health and Human Development: Jane Isaacs Lowe, senior adviser for program development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; A senior adviser for program development at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health-related philanthropy in the country, Lowe works to strategize and create healthy communities.

College of Information Sciences and Technology: David Rusenko, co-founder and CEO,; Renko graduated from the College of IST and was named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list. He’s Penn State’s youngest recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award, and his company, Weebly, gets 100 million visits a month.

College of the Liberal Arts: Katherine Rhodes, ’15, student marshal, College of the Liberal Arts; Rhodes, who will also be graduating in May, is earning an impressive slate of degrees in biological anthropology, Spanish and biology minors, and an option in genetics and development from Eberly. Her research in related fields has earned her an Undergraduate Discovery Grant.

College of Nursing: Ann Kolanowski, Elouise Ross Eberly Professor, Penn State College of Nursing; director, Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State; A professor of psychiatry, Kolanowski’s research hones in on dementia and the elderly. She’s also a Fellow of both the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America.

Eberly College of Science: Dr. Theodore I. Steinman; a clinical professor of medicine at Harvard, Steinman is a senior physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He founded programs in dialysis and kidney transplantation programs, a post he still runs.

Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony: Eric J. Barron, and Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady; Brady and Barron will lead the Honors College medal ceremony.

The Dickinson School of Law, University Park: The Hon. Kelly Ayotte, United States Senator from New Hampshire; Elected to the Senate in 2010, Ayotte serves on a slate of committees: the Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees, and also chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. Before entering the Senate, Ayotte was the attorney general of New Hampshire. She’s a Political Science alumna from PennState, and went to law school at Villanova.

The Dickinson Law of Law, Carlisle: Donald B. Verrilli Jr., U.S. solicitor general; Verilli is the 46th solicitor general of the United States, the official representative of the United States in front of the Supreme Court. In that role, he’s participated in 100 cases, including the Affordable Care Act. Before his time as solicitor general, Verille was the deputy counsel to President Obama, and a partner in Jenner & Block.

Who would you have liked to see speak at your college’s commencement? Let us know below.

Photo: Michael Misciagno

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Ben Berkman

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