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Jacksonville University to host three commencement ceremonies April 29, May 1

To honor the graduates of the class of 2022, Jacksonville University will hold three graduation ceremonies during the weekend of April 30 and May 1, marking the second year the University has hosted multiple ceremonies. 

All three will be held on the oak tree-lined Science Green, where JU commencement ceremonies have traditionally been held. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees will be conferred in each ceremony. 

If you’re unable to attend commencement, you can stream all three ceremonies live. Live streams will be available 15 minutes before each ceremony.

For more information, visit ju.edu/commencement/.

Below is information on the three commencement speakers.

Davis College of Business & Technology: Saturday, April 30 at 9 a.m.

Dr. Barbara Ritter will serve as the commencement speaker for the Davis College of Business. She is dean of the Davis College of Business & Technology and Executive Director of Career Services at Jacksonville University.

Dr. Ritter joined Jacksonville University in 2020.

She is an expert in the field of organizational behavior and management education with more than 70 publications and presentations in this area. Barbara has experience consulting in the areas of organizational culture, human resource policies, employee satisfaction, selection and promotion, performance appraisal and development, and data collection and analysis. 

She is a recipient of a number of awards including the Beta Gamma Sigma Outstanding Chapter Advisor, the Horry County Stardust Award for Outstanding Contribution, and the MOBTS Peter Frost Mentoring Award, which acknowledges individuals who are distinguished as gifted teachers and scholars and who unselfishly impart these gifts through mentoring students, colleagues and associates. 

In 2020, Barbara was recognized by MOBTS with the David L. Bradford Outstanding Educator Award, which acknowledges a person with consistently demonstrated achievement over a lifetime, focusing on teaching and learning excellence. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Akron.

College of Arts and Sciences and the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities: Saturday, April 30 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Timothy Snyder will serve as the commencement speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities ceremony. 

He is Dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts and currently serves as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Jacksonville University. Before coming to Jacksonville in 2010, Dr. Snyder held teaching and conducting positions at Connecticut College, Metropolitan State College of Denver, University of Colorado, and Yale University. He formerly served as Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Division of Music at JU and was twice honored with the Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching. Choruses under his direction have toured throughout the United States, to the People’s Republic of China, and on eight European concert tours.  

A passionate advocate for arts education and believer in the power of the arts to transform communities for the better, he serves on the Boards of Directors of Jacksonville’s Cathedral Arts Project and the Jacksonville Symphony. Under his leadership as Artistic Director of the Boulder Chorale in Colorado from 2001 to 2010, the organization grew from a single community chorus to become one of the leading choral arts umbrella non-profits in the region, serving over 200 singers in multiple graded ensembles for children and adults. He established the Yale/New Haven High Schools Choral Festival in 2003, was instrumental in the founding of the Boulder Children’s Chorale in 2009, and was honored with the Boulder County Pacesetter Award in recognition of significant contributions to the arts in the community.  

Dr. Snyder’s research on choral literature and performance practice has been presented to national and regional gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Boulder Bach Festival, College Music Society, and published in the Choral Journal. Active as a guest conductor, clinician, and composer of choral music, his works are published by Hinshaw Music, Shawnee Press, Lawson-Gould, and Santa Barbara Music. He holds degrees from Colorado State University (B.Mus.Ed.), Yale University (M.M.), and the University of Colorado (D.M.A.) 

Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences: Sunday, May 1 at 9 a.m.

Sylvia M. Burwell is the commencement speaker for the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

She is the 15th president of American University in Washington, D.C., and the first woman to serve in the role. Since coming to AU in 2017, she has focused on building a university centered on scholarship, learning, and community. 

Under her leadership, AU became the first carbon neutral university in the United States and established the first anti-racist research and policy center in the nation. Building on AU’s long history of engagement and service, she launched the Changemakers for a Changing World strategic plan and the Change Can’t Wait comprehensive campaign, which will create transformative educational opportunities for students, advance research with impact, and build stronger communities locally, nationally, and globally. During her tenure, AU entered the nation’s most innovative universities list and accelerated its standing as a place where scholars and students come to impact the world. 

President Burwell previously served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she led a department which included the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and all of Medicare. She oversaw the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act and led the department’s responses to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. As the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 96-0, she worked with Congress to negotiate a two-year budget deal following the 2013 government shutdown. 

Prior to her service in the Obama Administration, President Burwell was the president of the Walmart Foundation, where she focused on its global women’s economic empowerment initiatives. Before joining the Walmart Foundation, she was president and creator of the Global Development Program and the first Chief Operating Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Under her leadership, she created the foundation’s advocacy work and during her tenure, the foundation’s grantmaking grew by 40 percent to $1.5 billion per year. 

During the Clinton Administration, she served as deputy director of OMB, deputy chief of staff to the president, chief of staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, and staff director of the National Economic Council. 

President Burwell received undergraduate degrees from Harvard University and Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the American Council on Education (ACE), and GuideWell. President Burwell is a proud native of Hinton, West Virginia. She and her husband, Stephen, live in Washington, D.C, with their children, Helene and Matthew.