Area Colleges’ Commencement Plans Announced

Posted: May 2, 2014

HARRISONBURG — As the academic year comes to a close, local colleges and universities have announced their commencement speakers as they prepare to bid farewell to their newly minted graduates at ceremonies over the next few weeks.

James Madision University

James Madison University will hold its universitywide ceremony at 3 p.m. on May 9 at Bridgeforth Stadium.

JMU alumnus Matt Wasniewski, historian of the U.S. House of Representatives, will deliver the commencement speech. The Office of the Historian documents the House’s history as a resource for the government and the public.

Wasniewski graduated from JMU with a bachelor’s in history in 1991 and a master’s in history in 1994. He also holds a doctorate in U.S. history he earned from the University of Maryland.

Tickets are not required for the event. For more information and a full schedule of graduation events, visit .

American National

The Harrisonburg campus of American National University also will hold its graduation ceremony on May 9. The university, which recently   changed its name from National University, will hold its commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren.

Don “Robin” Sullenberger III, former CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, will be the event’s keynote speaker.

Sullenberger, who recently retired from his position with the partnership, previously served as a member of BRCC’s Educational Foundation board of directors. He is now on the State Board for Virginia’s Community Colleges, to which he was appointed by former Gov. Bob McDonnell.


Blue Ridge Community College is up next, with its graduation ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. May 10 on the campus commons in Weyers Cave.

Sullenberger will serve as commencement speaker for BRCC as well.

Tickets are not required for the ceremony.

For more information, visit .

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater College will hold its graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 17. The Rev. Jeffrey W. Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., will deliver the commencement address.

Carter is the 10th president of the seminary and was previously senior pastor and head of staff at the Manassas Church of the Brethren. He graduated from Bridgewater in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies.

Although anyone may attend the event, only those with tickets may sit in the reserved seating area. Each student is allowed four tickets.

Individuals without tickets may sit in the open seating area or watch remotely from various locations on campus.

For information, visit commencement-and-baccalaureate .


As it is almost every year, Eastern Mennonite University was the first local school to hold commencement exercises. The ceremony, held Sunday on the campus lawn, featured a keynote address from alumna Leymah Gbowee, a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or

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