GIFT OF SELF IS THE GREATEST GIFT, BLUFFTON GRADUATES TOLD
Bluffton University graduates were urged at their May 6 commencement to give of themselves as others—from family to Bluffton faculty—have given to them.
The gift of self is the greatest gift, said Karel Oxley, superintendent of Lima City Schools, in her commencement address. The 310 graduates were the second most among the 112 graduating classes in Bluffton history. The 209 undergraduate students who received diplomas represented the largest such number ever at Bluffton.
"I believe that the gift of self leads to a spirit of servant leadership," said Oxley, who also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the university during the ceremony. "It is servant leadership that will continue to carry forth the ideals of this great institution forever."
She noted what she called her "mantra" as a school superintendent—"You never quite know the moment when you may change a child’s life forever."
"So, too," she said, "all of the people here for you today—faculty, family and friends—have invested in their giving of self to you in hopes that along your journey from childhood to adulthood, there may have been a moment that has changed your life forever."
The gift of self "has been abundantly bestowed on you," she reminded the graduates. "Go forth and serve the world with the greatest gift of all."
Oxley is retiring this summer after nine years as superintendent in Lima and 40 years in education overall. In addition to her leadership in education—which also includes the 2011-12 presidency of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators—she has been active in the Lima community, serving on the boards of several organizations.
Also at the commencement ceremony, Bluffton President James M. Harder announced the granting of faculty emeritus status to Dr. Kay Soltesz, a retiring professor of dietetics.
A registered and licensed dietitian, Soltesz has been at Bluffton since 1995. Early in her tenure, she developed connections with Native American populations that have the highest rate of Type II diabetes in the world, and subsequently led three groups of students on cross-cultural experiences in Arizona.
She was chair of Bluffton’s family and consumer sciences department for 10 years and, since 2003, has also been the university’s director of assessment. She served a five-year, governor-appointed term on the Ohio Board of Dietetics, including one year as chair, and in 2005, she received the American Dietetic Association’s award for Outstanding Dietetics Educator in its Area 5.
Bluffton public relations, 5/8/12