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University of Indianapolis honors Class of 2019


INDIANAPOLIS—More than 1,350 graduates received degrees from the University of Indianapolis at Commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday, which also served to highlight the impact of the institution’s students, alumni and faculty across the state and world.


The University of Indianapolis conferred honorary degrees on Lonnie Johnson and Bob Zellner, two visionaries who embody the mission of the University. Lonnie Johnson is a world-renowned inventor, as well as president and founder of Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc. He has earned numerous awards from NASA for his spacecraft control systems and is the inventor of Hasbro’s Super Soaker® Water Blaster.

“As my generation passes the torch to you, your generation will become the future leaders of the world who will address the challenges associated with the activity that comes with computers and all of those great, wonderful things that humans will continue to develop,” Johnson said.

Bob Zellner is a prominent civil rights activist and Freedom Rider who has dedicated his life’s work to the pursuit of equal rights for all.

“I learned one thing in my work with Dr. [Martin Luther] King and Mrs. Rosa Parks – that is that brotherhood and sisterhood is not so wild a dream as those who profit by postponing it pretend. You are the ones who will go forth and prove that we can come together and save our democracy,” Zellner told the graduates.

Three students were honored with the I. Lynd Esch Award, which is given each year to students with the highest scholarly achievement during their University of Indianapolis career. The award, named for a former president of the University, recognizes persistence, consistency and dedication to academic excellence. The 2019 recipients are Samantha Froh (pre-art therapy), Brittany Isaacs (elementary education) and Chloe Wahl (biology and chemistry).

Emily Slaven, associate professor and director of the orthopedic residency program in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, was named 2019 University of Indianapolis Teacher of the Year, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated a distinguished record of excellence and impact on student learning.

UIndy 2019 Commencement by the numbers:

  • 843 undergraduates
  • 468 master’s and doctoral candidates (136 doctoral, 332 masters)
  • 27 states and 22 nations represented
  • 1,311 graduates from home campus
  • 41 graduates at UIndy’s international partner sites
  • Total: 1,352 graduates