About the Address Speakers
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About the Address Speakers

Graduate Commencement Speaker: Mary Hetrick Kaufmann

Mary Hetrick Kaufmann graduated in the Class of 1987 with her Muskingum Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Business. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master of Divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.

Mary is the Chief Learning Officer at Pillar Technology, a consulting company intersecting strategy, innovation, and technology to position its clients at the top of their industries. She leads Pillar’s deployment of innovative onboarding and ongoing learning systems, enabling Pillar and clients’ team members to maximize their daily learning experiences, launch innovative new products, and solve complex business problems.

Before joining Pillar, Mary was a member of the Muskingum University faculty, as Assistant Professor in Informatics for the Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology (MISST) program. She previously served in strategic positions at Ameritech (now AT&T) and The Longaberger Company.

A community volunteer for many civic organizations, she is an active member of the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance and served as a past member of the Board of Directors with the Muskingum County Business Incubator and the Muskingum Family Y. She is a frequent speaker, helping organizations to leverage creative team practices to produce growth and innovation.

She shares her Long Magenta Line heritage with her husband Brad Kaufmann, Class of 1988; her sister Cheryl Hetrick Carpenter, Class of 1986; and her brother-in-law Scott Carpenter, Class of 1988.

Mary and Brad Kaufmann are the proud parents of Emily (23), a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) who is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program at Ashland Theological Seminary, and William (19), who is serving in the United States Marine Corps.

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker: Suzanne Egli Hanna

Suzanne Egli Hanna graduated from Muskingum University in 1969. She grew up in New Jersey and first ventured to Ohio to attend Muskingum where she was the cheerleading captain and studied physical education and health. Suzi also met Jack Hanna, a charismatic animal enthusiast from Tennessee. They were married at Brown Chapel in 1968 and had their first daughter nine months later. Suzi raised the Hanna’s three daughters alongside countless animals, both pets and wildlife.

In 1978, Jack became director of the Columbus Zoo and Central Ohio became home to the Hanna family. While raising three daughters, Suzi supported Jack in the community while he tried to raise the profile of the Zoo. Suzi artfully juggled many roles while also managing the Hanna household – she volunteered at the zoo, took classes and graduated from Mount Carmel’s School of Nursing, worked for Columbus Parks and Recreation with senior citizens, and fundraised for numerous causes.

When Jack’s media career took off, Suzi helped with his filming expeditions to Africa and journeys to New York City for appearances on Good Morning America and the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2008, Suzi made her long-time co-hosting role official by starring in Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild that is presented by Nationwide Insurance and the Columbus Zoo. Into the Wild is currently airing in its tenth season and has won four Daytime Emmy Awards. She also regularly appears on ABC’s Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.

Having a passion and love for wildlife, Suzi and Jack have been involved in wildlife conservation on every continent. The Columbus Zoo is now one of the top zoological parks in the world, helping to sponsor 70 conservation programs in 40 countries. Although Suzi and Jack have explored many fascinating cultures and animals throughout their travels, the African country that has truly captured their heart is Rwanda. Being involved with conservation efforts for the magnificent, critically-endangered mountain gorillas, they also help with education and support the local residents with community projects. Because of their love and passion for this country, they even built a home in Rwanda. Suzi is very involved supporting a number of Rwandan wildlife, educational, and humanitarian organizations including the Gorilla Doctors and Partners In Conservation.

Suzi and Jack have now been married for almost 50 years and have three daughters and six grandchildren. Suzi will always be an adventurer at heart, never hesitating to jump at the chance to travel, explore, and generate support for the animal world.