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Undergraduate commencement features address by Harold W. Burlingame ’62 and baccalaureate speech by Reverend Jane Power Mykrantz

Muskingum University held its undergraduate commencement exercises on May 8, featuring an address by 1962 alumnus and Board of Trustees Chair Harold W. Burlingame.  The baccalaureate address was delivered by Reverend Jane Power Mykrantz.  Both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees were conferred.

HAROLD W. BURLINGAMEHarold W. Burlingame has created an eminent legacy of global leadership and service.  In 2004, he was named a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. Only nine other individuals have been so honored, including two United States Secretaries of Labor.

As executive vice president of AT&T, Mr. Burlingame played a major role in the historic transformation of the Bell Telephone System into a global telecommunications provider.  He led AT&T’s corporate policy initiative, preparing senior executives for unprecedented structural change, and guided a nationwide communication process with more than one million employees.  His ground-breaking programs created an innovative “workplace for the future” and furthered AT&T’s goal of attaining a world-class, diverse workforce. 

Among the many legacies of his 40-year AT&T career are his then-novel corporate programs for child-care, elder support and sabbatical leave.  These pioneering recruitment and retention initiatives have been adopted by organizations throughout the world. Since retiring, he has continued to share his expertise as an executive coach of choice for CEOs and other senior executives.

Mr. Burlingame serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of ORC Worldwide, on the National Advisory Board of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, and on the Board of Directors of eCornell, the distance learning subsidiary of Cornell University. 

He has been a member of the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 1985, and has served as its chair since 1994.  Mr. Burlingame has been recognized by Muskingum for his impact upon the lives of others with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree and an Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the university’s highest honor for its alumni.

Mr. Burlingame and his wife Susanne (Sue) Hussey Burlingame ’63 reside in Chatham, New Jersey.  They are the parents of Marjie Burlingame Hancock ‘91 and Betsy Burlingame Wood. The Burlingames are linked  with Muskingum through many family members, including their mothers Martha Elizabeth Pickens Hussey ’32 and Elsie Wagner Burlingame ’60.

In his commencement address, titled Do You Know Who You Are? Mr. Burlingame told the graduates, “Ask yourself these questions as they apply to your life:  Do you know who you are?  Do you know where you came from?  Do you know what you are to become?  Find experiences that give you joy, and keep learning from the classroom of life.”

In her remarks to the graduating class, Muskingum University President Dr. Anne C. Steele said, “You have worked hard, and your experience will be the cornerstone of all that you do.  You will help shape your community, your nation and the world.”      

President Steele also recognized retiring faculty member, Dr. Alan Chaffee, professor of English, who served the university for 40 years. 

A posthumous degree was awarded to Amy Adams, a Muskingum University student who died in a hiking accident in 2009.

David Shahbodaghi represented the class of 2010. The charge to the class from the faculty was presented by Professor of Education Dr. Steve Kokovich and the charge from the Board of Trustees was presented by Reverend Mykrantz. 

The baccalaureate service was held at 10:00 a.m. In her address, Reverend Mykrantz said, “The Muskingum chapter of your life is now a part of the story of your ife.  Your challenge now is to have the grace to put your gifts to the best possible use.”

JANE POWER MYKRANTZReverend Jane Power Mykrantz has answered the call to meet the pastoral needs of many congregations, most recently the First Presbyterian Church in Granville, Ohio. She pioneered new roles for women in the ministry, becoming the first ordained woman to serve on the pastoral staff of the historic Worthington Presbyterian Church – one of Ohio’s oldest congregations, founded in 1805.

Reverend Mykrantz has guided the Presbytery of Scioto Valley in its partnerships with 110 congregations and 22,000 parishioners. Her leadership roles have included vice moderator, moderator, and interim executive presbyter of Scioto Valley.  She has served with the Scioto Valley’s Support Commission of the Presbytery, Presbyterian Search Committee and Staff Services Committee. 

She earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and her master of divinity degree from Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio, which honored her with the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Reverend Mykrantz has been a member of the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 1987 and a member of its executive committee since 1988.  She chairs the student affairs committee, which represents the Board’s commitment to provide students with exceptional opportunities in their co-curricular and campus lives.

An active and committed volunteer, Reverend Mykrantz has served on the boards of numerous civic organizations, including the Hospice of Riverside Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital TWIG, the Greater Columbus Homelessness Prevention Program, the United Community Council, Neighborhood House, Columbus Arts Council, and the Columbus Association for Performing Arts.  She has been President of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Columbus and of the Junior League of Columbus.

Reverend Mykrantz was married to the late Peter Shedd Mykrantz for 51 years.  Her family includes two sons – Peter Jr. and his wife Debra, and Donald and his wife Susan – and six grandchildren. 

In recognition of her lifetime of achievement, the university bestowed up Reverend Mykrantz the degree of honorary doctor of humane letters.

Sean A. Schultz  read the scripture lesson for baccalaureate and Ellen Jane Hine led the Collect.