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Muskingum University 2016 Undergraduate Commencement Features Address by Henry D. Bullock ’77 and Baccalaureate Speech by Frank Festi, Jr. ’75

Muskingum University held its undergraduate commencement exercises on May 7, featuring an address by 1977 alumnus Henry Bullock. The baccalaureate address was delivered by Frank Festi ’75.

Bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and bachelor of science in nursing degrees were conferred.

Henry BullockIn his commencement address, Mr. Bullock told the students, “Once you’ve made a life decision, don’t look back. Go with passion. Attack it with a positive attitude, and if you do that, then that major decision is likely to work out.”

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

Mr. Bullock is a distinguished entrepreneur whose business acumen has helped shape advanced technology economic development, through his initiatives in the Silicon Valley region and throughout the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Texas.


Mr. Bullock is Chairman of the Board of Menlo Equities, which he founded in 1994 in San Jose, California. His company currently has $3 billion in net assets and more than seven million square feet of technology-focused commercial real estate.

His commercial real estate and finance career began with Wells Fargo Bank’s Real Estate Industries Group, where he helped establish their first construction finance business in Silicon Valley. He later directed the Northern California commercial mortgage banking operations of Security Pacific Corporation and served as a Managing Partner at the Shidler Group, where he was involved in all facets of taking two companies public. One of the companies, First Industrial, still trades on the New York Stock Exchange (FR) and is the fourth-largest publicly-held REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).

GraduationMr. Bullock graduated cum laude from Muskingum in the Class of 1977, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Economics. As a student, he was deeply influenced by Professors Joseph B. Elkins and Herbert F. Thomson. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University.

He has been a member of the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 2004, and previously served on the Muskingum Alumni Council. He is a committed and extremely generous supporter of Muskingum and our students and recently announced a $10 million planned gift to the University for the future construction of Henry D. Bullock Hall.

Muskingum also bestowed an honorary doctor of humane letters degree upon Terry M. Holcombe, a distinguished expert in advancing poverty-stricken communities and institutions of higher learning across our nation and around the globe.

The early years of Mr. Holcombe’s career focused on serving others through international anti-poverty efforts. From 1964-1974, he served as a project manager and later Executive Director of ACCION, a global non-profit organization founded in the early 1960s to combat poverty in Latin America through grassroots community development initiatives. Under Mr. Holcombe’s leadership, ACCION pioneered microfinance loans in the early 1970s. ACCION has since built 64 microfinance institutions in 32 countries on four continents. Their enterprise reaches more than 20 million clients annually through a current loan portfolio of $7.5 billion worldwide.

Terry M. HolcombeMr. Holcombe then focused his career on higher education development, leading institutional advancement for Whittier College, Columbia University, and Yale University. From 1981-1999, he served as Yale’s Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs. During his tenure, he helped shape Yale’s future by guiding two history-making capital campaigns and serving as an officer of the university in the administrations of six Yale presidents. He has since assisted institutions worldwide, including long-term service to The American University in Cairo.

Mr. Holcombe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University (1964) and a Master of Arts degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (1974). He also holds an honorary Master of Arts degree from Yale (1981) and the Yale Medal, the highest Yale Alumni Association award presented for outstanding individual service to the university (2011).

Since 2000, Mr. Holcombe has served as an advisor to the Muskingum University Board of Trustees and President Anne C. Steele.

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.”

Taylor Little represented the class of 2016. The charge to the class from the faculty was presented by Associate Professor of Communication Lisa M. Marshall, and the charge from the Board of Trustees was presented by 1962 alumnus and Board Chair Harold W. Burlingame.

Burlingame recognized Dr. Anne C. Steele's “17 years of superb and transformational leadership as president of Muskingum University” with bestowing her with President Emerita status. She is retiring on June 30, 2016.


Frank Festi Jr. Delivers Baccalaureate Address

Frank Festi Jr.The baccalaureate service was held at 10:00 a.m. In his address, Mr. Festi said, “Build a better you. That is exactly what you have been doing. Now you are a college graduate, but not just any college graduate. You are a Muskingum University graduate… Although the campus landscape has changed dramatically over the years, the bedrock of a Muskingum education is the residential liberal arts experience. It remains constant as does Muskingum’s mission to develop intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically whole persons.”

Mr. Festi is a distinguished business professional and dedicated volunteer leader on behalf of education, the arts, community service and economic development. In recognition of his lifetime of work, Mr. Festi was granted an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

He is Executive Principal of Rea & Associates, a leading Ohio accounting and consulting firm. With 11 locations and a staff of more than 200 professionals, Rea specializes in advising closely-held private companies and prominent individuals. Mr. Festi has been a Rea principal since 1981, and since joining Rea in 1976, he has guided clients of the firm’s Medina office with personal financial planning as well as tax and business consulting. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in the Muskingum Class of 1975, and is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner. He has led his professional colleagues as a past member of the board of directors of the Ohio Society of CPAs.

Mr. Festi helped found the Medina City Schools Foundation and the Medina County Performing Arts Foundation. He has served as President of the Medina City Schools Foundation, the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, the Medina Sunrise Rotary Club, the Medina Jaycees, and the Medina County YMCA. He has chaired fundraising for the United Way and the Medina County University Center, and was recognized with the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award for his commitment to improving the quality of life in his community.

He is married to Spring Sardelli Festi, a Muskingum graduate in the Class of 1976. They are the parents of Tiffany and Mark, and the grandparents of Anne, Luke, and Keira. Mr. and Mrs. Festi are committed and generous supporters of Muskingum University and its students.

Alexandra K. Arnold ’16 read the scripture lesson for baccalaureate and Taylor Little ’16 led the Collect.