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University Schedules Graduation Ceremonies

Oklahoma City University’s President Designate Martha Burger will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. May 5 in the Freede Wellness and Activity Center. The university will award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to more than 850 students during two ceremonies, along with four honorary degrees.

The graduate ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. in the Freede Center, featuring an address by religion professor and OCU’s 2018 Outstanding Faculty Award-winner Lisa Wolfe. This year, 35 students from the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program will be the first class to graduate.

Rev. Mark R. Jardine of the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church will deliver the baccalaureate message “The Big and Small of Dreams” at 9 a.m. May 5 in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel.

Burger was named the 18th president and first female president of the 114-year-old university in March, with her term set to begin July 1. Burger is a former energy industry executive and has a long history with Oklahoma City University, receiving her MBA from OCU in 1992 and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the university in 2012. She has served on the OCU Board of Trustees since 2008 and chairs its audit and finance committee.

During the undergraduate ceremony, the university will bestow an honorary degree to Tricia Everest, an attorney, philanthropist and entrepreneur; Bill Junk, president of the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation; and Rev. Craig Stinson, connectional ministries director of the Oklahoma Annual Conference Council of the United Methodist Church.

An honorary doctor of international commerce will be awarded in July to Michael Agusta, entrepreneur and owner of the seaweed extracts producer Java Biocolloid. Bob Ross, president and CEO of the Inasmuch Foundation board of directors and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, will receive an honorary doctor of humanities degree at a later date.

The OCU School of Law hooding and commencement ceremony will be at 2 p.m. May 13 at the Civic Center Music Hall downtown. Law alumnus and former U.S. Congressman Mickey Edwards will give the commencement address, “Does the Constitution Still Matter?” Edwards will also receive an honorary doctor of juridical science.


About the commencement speakers —

Martha Burger

Martha A. Burger is a former executive in the energy industry. Most recently she served as senior vice president of human and corporate resources at Chesapeake Energy Corporation. While there she provided leadership for human resources, administrative services, facilities, communications, security and ethics and the company’s fitness center. She also served the company as treasurer and corporate secretary.

During her tenure at Chesapeake, the company grew from less than 100 employees to over 13,000 and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S. from 2008 until 2013. She was instrumental in creating and sustaining the company’s vibrant, unique and nationally recognized culture.

Burger is active in civic and professional organizations as well as statewide initiatives. She was recognized in the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor by the Meinders School of Business in 2011. She is a co-founder of Amethyst Investments LLC and is a member of the board of directors of Tapstone Energy.

Lisa Wolfe

Religion professor Lisa Wolfe was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Award.

Wolfe is the endowed chair of Hebrew Bible. She started teaching at OCU in 2007.

After growing up in northeastern Ohio, she received her BA in psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1990 and was active in the Wesley Foundation. She received her M.Div. from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in 1996, and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2000.

Over the years she has served more than six different churches, specializing in youth ministry, Christian education and interim ministry. She has held the role of children’s hospital chaplain, church camp counselor, job coach and as a dental assistant.

Wolfe received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Northwestern University’s joint program with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Religious and Theological Studies in July of 2003. At that time, she became assistant professor of Old Testament at United Theological Seminary and later served as director of the Harriet L. Miller Women's Center.

Wolfe's areas of expertise include wisdom literature, in particular Ecclesiastes, and women in the Hebrew Bible. In 2010, production company Living the Questions released her DVD Bible study series "Uppity Women of the Bible." Cascade Press published the companion book to that series, “Ruth, Esther, Song of Songs and Judith” in 2011.

Mark R. Jardine

Rev. Mark R. Jardine has served as the senior pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City since 2015. Before arriving at Chapel Hill, he served as senior pastor at three other churches in Oklahoma: St. Paul United Methodist Church in Muskogee, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow and the First United Methodist Church in Hennessey.

He graduated from Bartlesville College High School, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Oklahoma City University and graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

Jardine’s wife, Elizabeth, received her MBA from Oklahoma City University in 1993. He and Elizabeth have three children.

About the honorary degree recipients —

Tricia Everest, Honorary Doctor of Humanities

Tricia Everest attended Casady High School in Oklahoma City before graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1993. She attended the University of Oklahoma School of Law, earning her Juris Doctor in 2003. Her legal work has included serving as an assistant attorney general of Oklahoma.

Everest focuses most of her time ensuring there are sufficient forms of art available for children, as she believes they are designing the landscape of the future; and giving women tools so they may pave new roads for their children that don’t include abuse, illiteracy, incarceration and addiction.

Everest currently serves on several boards and organizations including as president of the Family Justice Center of Oklahoma City, chairwoman of Allied Arts and as a trustee for OCU. She was named Woman of the Year by the Journal Record in 2011, Volunteer of the Year by the YWCA and YMCA in 2012, and received the Lee Allan Smith Oklahoma Legacy Award in 2013.

William (Bill) Anthony Junk, Honorary Doctor of Humanities

Bill Junk, a Shawnee native, was elected president of the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation in October 2006. A University of Oklahoma graduate and certified public accountant, Junk began his work at the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation in 1988 as controller. Prior to his election as president, Junk served as executive vice president and treasurer of the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation. His primary responsibilities have included overseeing investments, operations, and administration.

Junk is actively involved with the National Association of United Methodist Foundations(NAUMF). He served four years as NAUMF Treasurer, three years as South Central Jurisdiction Representative to the Management Team and served as chair of the Investment Focus Area. Junk has consulted with a number of Methodist foundations on accounting, staffing, and operational issues.

In 1994, Junk began development of Funderware, a foundation accounting system used by other United Methodist foundations across the country. He continues the oversight of its development.

Craig Stinson, Honorary Doctor of Divinity

Rev. Craig Stinson serves as the director of Connectional Ministries for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. In this role he oversees all of the programming ministries of the conference including camps, mission, discipleship, leadership, campus ministry and others.

In his tenure with the conference he grew the area of New Faith Communities into a full-time ministry, and created the innovative Bi-vocational Academy, which is raising up a new generation of pastors for smaller and out-of-the-way churches. He also created the New People New Places initiative that provides start-up grants to churches that have innovative plans for reaching new people.

Stinson attended Southern Methodist University, where he graduated with honors in less than three years. He holds a Master of Theology from Perkins School of Theology.

As a pastor in Oklahoma, he has served from the far southeast (Valliant) to the western end of the Panhandle (Boise City), and from the far northeast (Welch), to the southwest (Duncan). He was district superintendent of the North Oklahoma City District from 1999-2005.

Michael Agusta, Honorary Doctor of International Commerce

Michael Agusta is a native of Surabaya City, Indonesia. He owns Java Biocolloid, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of agar, a seaweed extract, and is the company’s group managing director.

In 2004, Agusta implemented the enterprise resource planning software with his brother to automate processes and increase efficiency and productivity for all of the family businesses.

As part of his corporate social responsibility and commitment to environmental compliance, Agusta adopted the Blue Economy business model for his agar factory which emphasizes zero waste as well as the creation of job and income opportunities for the rural communities around Surabaya. Java Biocolloid is a major employer in the manufacture of agar, as well as seaweed farming, which aids the production of oxygen for the sea eco-system.

Agusta is currently working with the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University on an export-import research project designed to explore the exportation of agar to Oklahoma via free-trade zones at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, and the Port of Catoosa in northeast Oklahoma.

Agusta completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom in 2001, and his MBA at the University of Ciputra in 2017.

Robert (Bob) J. Ross, Honorary Doctor of Humanities

Robert J. Ross currently serves as president, CEO and member of the board of directors of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The foundations were founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982.

Ross was previously employed as an attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. He is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and Washington and Lee University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He received his juris doctor from the University of Oklahoma.

Ross is a member of several boards of director including Colorado College, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Ross was presented with the 2011 Plaza District Association’s Urban Pioneer Award and the 2012 OKC Beautiful Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Service. In 2013, he was awarded the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits’ Visionary Impact Award. In 2015, Ross was the recipient of the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s John Rex Community Builder Award.

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