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(PAINESVILLE, OHIO) - A look at the past and a glimpse into the future was the headlining theme as Lake Erie College graduated its 147th class during commencement ceremonies held Sunday, May 7, 2006. The ceremony, highlighting the College's 150 year anniversary, took place at 11 a.m. on the Campus Green in the center of campus.

148 students of various ages received their undergraduate degrees. 22 additional adult students were granted a Master of Business Administration degree and 20 others received a Master of Science degree in Education.

Invocation was led by Lisa Benedetti '81, president of the National Alumni Association, and the crowd of over 400 was welcomed by Interim President M. Sue Dreitzler. Class of 2006 representatives, Adam Foxx and Jane Roberts presented the College with a class gift - a trophy case for use in the Athletic & Wellness Center.

The Commencement Address was presented by Michael T. Victor, president-elect of the College. He was quickly interrupted from a special visitor, Mary Evans, first President of the College (portrayed by a local resident). Evans, who led the College from 1868 - 1909, encouraged the students to "carry the history of the College with you." Addressing Michael Victor as "young man," Evans told him "My time is past, your time is now."

President-Elect Michael T. Victor, who will officially take office on June 1, reflected upon the 150-year legacy of the College and what awaits it in the future. He noted the differences between the world of Mary Evans and that of today's students, noting that she witnessed more changes in American society during her years at the College than we will ever witness in our entire life, but that students all share identical aspirations and visions for the future…to be happy and successful. Victor shared his "Six Secrets of Happiness," which included: 1.) Everything you need is inside of you - happiness is a decision you make. 2.) All obstacles are lessons in disguise 3.) Never give up - make choices, take chances, make mistakes and show up everyday 4.) Embrace discipline - work hard to fulfill your dreams 5.) Think for yourself - be bold and envision yourself living a life you love and 6.) Have some fun. In closing, Victor encouraged the graduates to "Keep Lake Erie College alive in your heart."

Another historic happening at the commencement included the Transfer of the Chain of Presidential Office. During this presentation, Dreitzler conveyed the rights and obligations of the office of President to Victor. Victor, in turn, was joined by Richard Kessler, chairman of the Board of Directors, and honored Sue Dreitzler by awarding her with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Dreitzler has a long history with the College dating back to 1978 when she joined the faculty as athletic director and assistant professor of physical education. Over the years she served the College as dean of students, head of special projects, development officer and vice president of institutional advancement. She left the College in 1997 to become vice president of institutional advancement for the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM). Upon her retirement from NEOUCOM, she accepted the position of interim president at Lake Erie College.

Honored at the event as Sesquicentennial Fellows were past presidents, Dr. Charles Simmons, seventh president of Lake Erie College from 1977-84, Dr. Clodus Smith,
ninth president of Lake Erie College from 1986-92, and Dr. Marilyn S. Jones, interim president of Lake Erie College from 1984-85. Retiring faculty members, Suzanne Coen, associate dean for equine studies and Dr. Paul and Susan Belanger, both long-time biology and environmental science faculty members were also honored. Eight other friends of the College were honored including: Robert Dickinson, emeritus trustee of the Lake Erie College Board of Directors; the late William Irrgang, former member of the Lake Erie College Board of Trustees; Richard J. Kessler, current chairman of the Lake Erie College Board of Directors; The Roddick Fund, established by local Painesville resident Catherine Roddick; Margaret L. Simmons, former president of the Phillips School and Paulla Chaat Smith, dedicated volunteer. Sesquicentennial medals are given in honor of the College's 150 anniversary to honor those individuals who have shown dedication to Lake Erie College.

The Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Elisabeth J Giedt, DVM, associate professor of equine science.

Founded in 1856, Lake Erie College is a dynamic and progressive institution of higher education, offering 22 undergraduate majors and master's degrees in business administration and education. This coeducational college, grounded in the liberal arts, enrolls just over 1,000 students of all ages and is nationally recognized for its equine studies programs and international learning opportunities for students. For more information about the College, visit the College website at or call the admissions office at 800/916-0904.


Note: This is a news archive and may contain outdated information.


Lake Erie College | 391 West Washington Street | Painesville, Ohio 44077 | 1.855.GO.STORM