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Muskingum University’s 2016 Start of School Features
Opening Convocation with Address by 1977 Alumna Kim Ronald Smith

Quad view of students and facultyMuskingum University opened its 179th school year with a Convocation on August 30 in the Steele Center gymnasium. This event also marks the first convocation presided over by Muskingum’s 21st President Dr. Susan S. Hasseler, who started on July 1, 2016.

“Each academic year is a time of new beginnings for everyone, particularly our first-year students and other new members of the community,” said Dr. Hasseler. “I feel a special connection with you this year. As many of you know, this is my first Opening Convocation here at Muskingum. And I am delighted to be here.”

The convocation featured an address by 1977 alumna Kim Ronald Smith, an education and employment law attorney and a volunteer for a number of educational, healthcare and community development organization.


Ms. Smith asked each member of Muskingum’s class of 2020 to take out their cellphones and to take a “selfie.”

“Please save that picture because today symbolizes a new beginning in your chapter in your life. Remember this day. It is a turning moment,” said Ms. Smith.

Kim Ronald Smith“My hope is that by saving your ‘selfie,’ you will remember today marked the start of your Muskingum career, a new chapter in your life’s story.”

“In addition to making new friends, socializing and having fun, use this time to also cultivate an experience that makes your story significant, relevant and worthwhile,” she continued. “To the extent you can fully appreciate and take advantage of all Muskingum has to offer, you will be laying a foundation, whether you know it or not, on which the rest of your whole story will be built.”

Ms. Smith is of counsel for the law firm Barley Snyder, where she represents both public-sector and private-sector clients. Her specialties include employment, labor relations, school governance, and student services law. She was previously managing partner of Hartman, Underhill & Brubaker LLC. She is a past president of the Lancaster (PA) Bar Association and of the Labor and Employment Relations Association – Central Pennsylvania Chapter. Prior to her legal career, Ms. Smith served as Associate Dean of Students for Muskingum and as Dean of Students for Malone University.

Kim Ronald SmithMs. Smith holds a Muskingum Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude in music education, a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration and Counseling summa cum laude from The Ohio State University and a Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Temple University School of Law. She has been recognized with a Muskingum University Alumni Distinguished Service Award (DSA), the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, the Legal Intelligencer Woman of the Year Award, and the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal Woman of Influence Award.


She serves as a director of the Lancaster (PA) General Health and Lancaster General Hospital Boards and is a member of the development committee for the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. She previously served as a trustee of Messiah College and as director of the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. She has chaired and served on boards of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lancaster County Community Foundation, Leadership Lancaster, and Moravian Manor.

A native of Tuscarawas, Ohio, she resides in Lititz, Pennsylvania with her husband, B. David Smith. Her Long Magenta Line family members include her father Richard L. Ronald ’59; uncle Kenneth L. Sherer ’61; sister Shelley Ronald Wehr ’76; brother-in-law P. Dean Wehr ’75; cousin Vicki Everett West ’86; and cousin Stacey Ronald Dessecker ’97.