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Undergraduate commencement features address by Dennis D. Grant ’62 and baccalaureate speech by Sylvia Rapp Sabia ’72

DENNIS GRANTMuskingum University held its undergraduate commencement exercises on May 10, featuring an address by 1962 alumnus Dennis D. Grant. The baccalaureate address was delivered by 1972 alumna Sylvia Rapp Sabia. Bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and bachelor of science in nursing degrees were conferred.

As an attorney with Bailey Cavalieri LLC, Mr. Grant focuses his practice on labor and employment law. He is a frequent and sought-after presenter for legal professional development seminars and has taught labor and employment law for The Ohio State University and for Capital University’s Paralegal Institute. Mr. Grant has received multiple recognitions by his peers, including as a Best Lawyer in America, Ohio Super Lawyer, and Ohio Top Lawyer. He has twice been named the Professional of the Year in Labor and Employment Law.

Mr. Grant has served on the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 1972. He is a member of the Board’s Executive Committee, currently serving as secretary and previously as vice chair. His leadership has helped shape Muskingum for the future, impacting the lives of generations and generations of students.  He was a 2012 recipient of a Muskingum Distinguished Service Award, the university’s highest alumni honor.

An enthusiastic outdoorsman, Mr. Grant shares his skills in hunting, fishing, and trap and skeet shooting as a hunter education instructor. He has served as secretary and a director of the Ohio Hunter and Trapper Education Instructor Association.

Mr. Grant earned his bachelor of arts degree in history cum laude and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He and his wife, Martha Brouwer Grant, a 1962 Muskingum alumna, reside in Columbus. They are the parents of Craig Grant, Wendi S. Bootes, and Doug Grant.

In his commencement address, Mr. Grant told the students, “The Muskingum alma mater refers to ‘a life more abundant,’ and your time here has prepared you for exactly that. You will encounter challenges, to be sure, but your Muskingum experience has given you the tools you need to meet those challenges.”

In recognition of his achievements, the university bestowed upon Mr. Grant the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.

In her remarks to the graduating class, Muskingum University President Dr. Anne C. Steele said, “Today is your day. You have worked hard and with distinction. Your Muskingum education is a cornerstone of your life, and it will continue to serve you and shape your future.”

Sarah C. Linn ’14 represented the class of 2014. The charge to the class from the faculty was presented by Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Shelley Amstutz-Szalay and the charge from the Board of Trustees was presented by 1962 alumnus and Board Chair Harold W. Burlingame.

SYLVIA RAPP SABIAThe baccalaureate service was held at 10:00 a.m. In her address, Ms. Sabia said, “Today, you are at a crossroad with dozens of choices to make.  Don’t ignore the modern world, but also be sure to follow the ancient path:  Read, pray, learn and study.”

In recognition of her lifetime of work, Ms. Sabia was granted an honorary doctor of science degree.

Sylvia Rapp Sabia is a native of rural Zelionople, Pennsylvania, where she was raised in a strong United Presbyterian tradition. Attending a Muskingum choir performance at her church led her to enroll following her graduation from Seneca Valley High School.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in biology magna cum laude. She served as president of Beta Beta Beta and was elected to the sophomore women’s honorary Cwens (now Lambda Sigma) and the Senior Women’s Honorary. She received the Fourth Year Award for Superior Scholarship and her name is engraved on the plaque of honors which hangs in Montgomery Hall outside of the President’s Office. She was an active participant in many aspects of campus and residence hall life.

Ms. Rapp Sabia earned her master of physical therapy degree from Duke University. She became the first full-time physical therapist at Highlands Medical Center/Jackson County Hospital in Scottsboro, Alabama, where she enjoyed a 32-year career before retiring in 2005.

She continues to serve others through her leadership in the Scottsboro Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where she has contributed her time and talents as a deacon, elder, assistant organist, Chancel Choir member, and director of three hand bell choirs. She expresses her lifelong love of sacred music as a vocalist, pianist, organist and hand bell player and her hobbies include birding, crafting, scrapbooking and baking.

She is married to Arthur A. Sabia, Jr., a civil engineer and graduate of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. They reside in Scottsboro and are the parents of Susan Elizabeth Sabia, who sang the baccalaureate benediction.  She currently attends the University of Montevallo, majoring in speech pathology. 

Megan E. Duke ’14 read the scripture lesson for baccalaureate and R. Jordon Estose ’14 led the Collect.