On Saturday, May 17, 1,397 undergraduates and 761 graduate students gathered with family and friends in the Cintas Center to celebrate Commencement 2008. Erich Kunzel, conductor for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, was the featured speaker at the undergraduate ceremony, while Howard Gray S.J., a long-time leader in expanding the role of Ignatian spirituality in higher education, spoke at the graduate event.
This year marked the inaugural presentation of the Magis Award, which recognizes a recent grad based on the high degree of excellence in his or her work and the extent to which his or her personal life embodies Jesuit ideals. Jerome J. Gutzwiller Jr., a 1998 graduate, was the first recipient of the new award.
Since leaving the University, Gutzwiller has carried the Jesuit ideal of being a person for others through his work and study in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and, most recently, Lima, Peru. There, working through a private contractor, he was operations manager for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s $51-million poverty reduction and alleviation project.
Other commencement honorees included Philip J. Gasiewicz, who was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award; long-time Musketeer tennis coach James J. Brockhoff, who received the Paul L. O’Connor, S.J., Leadership Award; Gray, who received the University’s Leadership Medallion; and Kunzel, who was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters.