Honorary Degrees Awarded at Mount Union

May 27, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – During the University of Mount Union’s 169th Commencement ceremony held earlier this month, honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees were presented to Mount Union President Dr. Richard F. Giese and Sandra Giese and board president Randall C. Hunt ‘75.

Honorary degrees were presented to the Gieses by Dr. Harold Kolenbrander, president emeritus, who led Mount Union from 1986 to 2000.

“Dr. and Mrs. Giese have led with vision at Mount Union, benefitting the Alliance community by further advancing an already-strong University during their 10-year tenure at the helm,” Kolenbrander said. “Since their return to campus in 2005, Mount Union has celebrated record enrollment, added strategic undergraduate majors, launched its first graduate programs in nearly a century, overhauled the general education curriculum, enhanced diversity and changed the designation of the institution from college to university.”

In addition, Kolenbrander noted, more than $100 million has been invested in campus over the past decade including the addition of new apartment-style housing options, renovation of traditional residence halls, expansion of the recreation and wellness center and the dining commons and completion of new facilities for the health and medical sciences and the performing arts.

Prior to leading Mount Union, Giese served as president of Monmouth College in Illinois for eight years, but his first job in higher education was as a faculty member and basketball coach at Averett College in Danville, Virginia. In the summer of 1978, Dr. Giese came to Mount Union as a faculty member and head men's basketball and tennis coach. He then served in increasingly responsible administrative positions for Mount Union, including vice president for enrollment services and vice president for advancement. Giese currently serves as the past president of the Alliance Economic Development Committee, member of the Economic Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the Stark Development Board and member of the executive committee of the United Way.

Mrs. Giese is a former elementary school principal in the Alliance City School system. She began her career in Alliance, teaching science to third, fourth, fifth and eighth graders. As principal of Liberty Elementary, she was responsible for the educational growth of approximately 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade; curriculum, assessment and social service integration; supervision of over 30 professional and classified staff; and coordination of special services. During her time at Liberty, she established a multiage organizational system of educational delivery. Since returning to Mount Union, she has been an active member of the campus community, serving as a member of the Sustainability Management Advisory Committee and Campus Events Committee and working with architects and designers on new building projects. She serves as past vice president of the Alliance YMCA Board of Directors, a member of the boards of Rodman Library and The Alliance for Children and Families, a committee member of the adult career training assistance program and a member of Alliance’s “One Book One Community” group.

“At Mount Union, it is our mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship, a credo that the Gieses have wholeheartedly embraced,” Kolenbrander said. “They have truly ‘walked the walk,’ living out this mission and leading by example. Their good works on campus are undeniable, and their commitment to the University is equally matched by their desire to serve as active members of Alliance and the surrounding communities.”

Dr. Ray Posey, associate academic dean and professor in residence of management and finance, presented Hunt with an honorary degree during the Commencement festivities.

Hunt has served as chair of the Mount Union Board of Trustees since 2010 and has been on the board since 1995. He serves as director at the law firm of Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A, where he has served as the firm’s managing partner for 14 years and has been instrumental in the firm’s steady growth. His professional experience includes various business fields, mergers and acquisitions, closely held corporations, commercial real estate and healthcare law.

In addition, Hunt has held leadership positions with the the boards of Stark County Development, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Alliance Community Hospital, Alliance Citizens Health Association, Greater Alliance Development Corporation, Stark State College and the Society of Ohio Hospital Attorneys. He has been recognized for his contributions to the community with honors such as the Alliance High School Distinguished Alumni Award, Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award and the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Hunt’s continual generosity has been marked by membership in the University’s 1846 Society and Forever Mount Society, and his contributions helped to make the Drive for Distinction and Health and Medical Sciences facility campaigns successful. He also established an endowed scholarship in memory of his parents, Ralph and Gunhild Hunt. For his commitment to his alma mater, Hunt was the recipient of the Dodie Davis Alumni Service Award in 2014.

“His tireless work as chair of the Board of Trustees for the past 10 years and his collaborative efforts for the betterment of life for all Alliance residents, is more than commendable,” Posey said.

Dr. Giese conferred the degree to Hunt.

“You have served your alma mater nobly over the years, and your service as chair of the Board of Trustees has been remarkable,” Giese said. “It has been my pleasure to work alongside you over the course of the past decade. There is no doubt that Mount Union is a better institution as a result of your dedication and work.”


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