DeSales University Spring Commencement Exercises to be Held Sat., May 19; Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, President Emeritus of Villanova University, to GIve Commencement Address
Please note: Due to the possibility of rain, the Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises will be held in Billera Hall. Graduates attending Baccalaureate should be in Billera by 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening and wear their academic attire. On Saturday morning, graduates should report to Billera Hall no later than 10:15. a.m., and assemble in the hallway of Billera Hall (parallel to Landis Mill Road).
The 39th Commencement exercises at DeSales University will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 19, in Billera Hall. Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, president emeritus of Villanova University, will deliver the Commencement address.
During the ceremony, Father Bernard O'Connor, OSFS, president of DeSales, will confer degrees upon 461 graduating students, including 379 bachelor's and 82 master's. Honorary doctor of humane letters degrees will be awarded to Fr. Dobbin and also to philanthropist Alvina Louise Campbell and Gerald A. White, retired senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer of Air Products and Chemicals. Senior class president, Joseph A. Newman, of Toledo, Ohio, a biology major, will give welcoming remarks.
DeSales newest graduating class will include students from 15 states and from one foreign country, India. The majority of the students are from Pennsylvania (372), followed by New Jersey (51) and Delaware (12).
Among those receiving master's degrees are the first graduates of DeSales University's Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) program, a diverse group of seven students. The MACJ program, established in January of 2005, was designed to meet a need for graduate criminal justice education in the Lehigh Valley area. It joins the other graduate programs at DeSales, including education, information systems, nursing, physician assistant studies and business.
Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, a recognized scholar and administrator, was inaugurated as Villanova's 31st president in October 1988 and served until 2006. Prior to that, he was associate vice president for Academic Affairs from 1987 to 1988. He also served on the Villanova University Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1987, while assigned to the Washington Theological Union.
Under Father Dobbin's leadership, Villanova enjoyed a period of unprecedented progress. During his tenure, the ongoing strategic planning process guided every facet of the University's growth and success. The many accomplishments include: strong fundraising efforts that help grow the endowment from $18 million to $240 million; a record number of undergraduate applicants, resulting in some of the most selective and academically advanced classes in the school's history; and many new buildings were planned or completed, and major renovations implemented in each of the University's colleges and schools.
Also during that time, new interdisciplinary curricula and degree programs were established; international programs and collaborations were expanded; students competed successfully for prestigious national scholarships and fellowships; the University created an increasingly distinguished faculty; and new programs were implemented to more effectively engage alumni and parents.
Raised in Staten Island, N.Y., Father Dobbin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Villanova in 1958, and a Master of Arts from Augustinian College in 1962, in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood that same year. In 1964, he received a Master of Science in Mathematics, with a minor in Physics, and in 1968, he received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology, both from the Catholic University of America. In 1971, he was awarded the Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the University of Louvain, Belgium.
Philanthropist Alvina Louise Campbell served as a member of board of trustees and chairperson of the planning and development committee at DeSales University from 1980 to 2005. In 1981, Campbell founded the University's annual dinner dance to benefit the student financial aid program. A signature event in the Lehigh Valley area, the five-star gala has raised more than $2 million in its 26-year history and has introduced countless friends to DeSales University. During her tenure, the University has raised more than $50 million for students, buildings and endowments.
In addition to DeSales University, Campbell has volunteered her time to numerous organizations including the Allentown Diocese, the United Way, Good Shepherd Hospital, Wiley House, Minsi Trails Council for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Sacred Heart Hospital, among others.
Campbell is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1994 DeSales Medal, the highest non-academic honor given for outstanding contributions to the development of the University through personal service and support. Other honors include the Morning Call Silver Tray (United Way), the Minsi Trails Council BSA Distinguished Citizen Award, the WELD Bowl, the Jack Houlihan Philanthropic Award, and the Outstanding Fund-Raising Volunteer Award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives.
Also, DeSales University's Campbell Hall, built in 1995 and houses the Distance Learning Center, was dedicated in honor of Campbell and in memory of her late husband, Robert K. Campbell, who was former chairman and chief executive officer of PP&L, and a highly regarded community leader and humanitarian.
Campbell served as director of Merchants Bank and the Lehigh Valley Chapter of AAA, a member of the Executive Advisory Committee for Wachovia Bank, a member of the board of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, and a member of the Lehigh County Senior Citizen's Board. A resident of Macungie, Pa., Campbell has three sons and six grandchildren.
White joined Air Products in 1962, and held various positions in engineering, management information, and finance before becoming corporate controller in 1974. In 1976, he was named general manager of the energy systems department, and was appointed vice president of corporate planning in 1977. He was named senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer in 1982. He retired in 1995, after more than 30 years with the company.
He served as chairman of the DeSales University Board of Trustees for more than 17 years, and has the distinction of being the first layman to serve in that capacity at the University. He retired as chairman in 2005, after providing steady counsel and leadership that was key to the amazing growth and excellence of the institution.
White earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University in 1957, and is a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. Prior to joining Air Products in 1962, he served on active duty as a U.S. Naval aviator for five years. In 1983, he received the Morehouse Award from Villanova, in recognition of his outstanding business and community leadership. He completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 1975.
Active in public and community affairs, White serves as vice chairman of the Finance Council of Machinery and Allied Products Institute, and is a member of the Financial Executives Institute and past president of its Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter. He is a trustee of the Allentown Art Museum and a member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Council on Economic Education and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is a past president of the United Way of Lehigh County and a former chairman of the Municipal Authority of Upper Saucon Township.
Press Release: DeSales University Spring Commencement Exercises to be Held Sat., May 19; Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, President Emeritus of Villanova University, to GIve Commencement Address | Posted on: 5/16/2007
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu