University of Indianapolis Commencement honors Class of 2017, local connections

Nearly 1,500 graduates received degrees from the University of Indianapolis during the May 2017 Commencement ceremony, which also served to showcase the impact of the institution’s students, alumni and faculty across the state and world.

University President Robert Manuel highlighted how the local and global community benefits from the University’s service-learning initiatives and praised graduates for their commitment to those programs. maycommencement

“From our Super Saturday of Service, to the work we do with College Mentor for Kids, to the clinics that you set up and operate around the city, you have impacted the quality of life for many of our citizens because you understand your privileged place in our world, and are willing to use your talents to benefit others. Our motto – Education for Service – is alive and well in you,” Manuel said.

Dr. Katherine Welch ’93, founder of Relentless, a non-profit dedicated to the fight against human trafficking, explained in her keynote address how she took the University motto to heart. For more than a decade, she has committed her life to providing medical service to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation across Asia. Welch talked about breaking down barriers to bring hope, justice and healing to the enslaved, and how it “ultimately means breaking down barriers within myself, and also between us and them.”

She also shared career advice with graduates. “Life is the process – it’s not what we get when we have it all figured out. Discover who you will be and then what you do will be an outpouring gift to everyone else,” Welch said.

Welch was one of four people to receive honorary degrees Saturday. Also honored were:

  • Marc Adams ’81, founded the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Whiteland, Ind., one of the leading training schools in North America. He is recognized worldwide as one of the leading voices in the trade.
  • Kenneth “Doc” Borden, the Herbert Bohn Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus at the University of Indianapolis, served on the faculty for more than 30 years. He also was one of the founding members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
  • James Ream, associate professor of theatre for the University, served on faculty for nearly 45 years. He will retire this year.

The University also awarded posthumously the inaugural Hudnut Medal, named in honor of former Mayor Bill Hudnut, to Robert B. Annis, a former inventor, scientist and businessman from Indianapolis. Annis had a strong connection to the University through years of hosting the Indiana Regional Science Fair on campus.

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The Annis legacy continues through the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, which recently gifted $5 million to to launch the R.B. Annis School of Engineering in the Shaheen College of Arts and Sciences. Accepting on behalf of the Foundation were Trustees Dan Yates and Wayne Weber.

Deb Sachs, Teach (STEM)³ program director and assistant professor of education, was recognized as Teacher of the Year.

The Black Student Association marked the May 2017 commencement with the inaugural Celebration of Success.

The BSA Celebration of Success is a pre-commencement celebration to honor African and African-American students; who through unyielding determination have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from the University of Indianapolis,” said Jennifer Smith, BSA co-advisor and assistant director at the Professional Edge Center.

UIndy Commencement by the numbers:

  • 1,032 undergraduates
  • 444 master’s and doctoral candidates
  • 24 states and 24 nations represented
  • 1,340 graduates from home campus
  • 136 additional graduates at UIndy’s international partner sites
  • Total: 1,476 graduates