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Heidelberg University announces 2023 commencement speaker




Photo Credit: Heidelberg University

Tiffin, Ohio — Heidelberg University will be hosting its 170th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 14, starting at 10 a.m. in Hoernemann Stadium. The Class of 2023 will march from University Hall on Greenfield Street, through campus, and into the stadium for the event.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Marc A. Stefanski, who is an alumnus of Heidelberg and graduated in 1976. Stefanski is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Third Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland. He has been leading the company since 1987 and has helped it grow from $1.8 billion to $14.1 billion today.


Marc A. Stefanski (Photo courtesy Heidelberg University)

Under Stefanski’s leadership, Third Federal has been committed to making a positive impact in the communities it serves. He directed the creation of the Third Federal Foundation in 2007, which has donated almost $60 million to support education, housing, and other community development initiatives.

Stefanski’s personal philanthropy focuses on the communities and institutions that have impacted his life and the lives of his family. In 2015, he founded Rhonda’s Kiss, a charity that awards grants to hospitals to provide financial aid to cancer patients in need.

Stefanski will be returning to his alma mater after delivering the commencement speech 20 years ago, in 2003. During that year, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Heidelberg.

At this year’s ceremony, Heidelberg will present master’s degrees in business administration, counseling, and athletic training. The ceremony will also feature the first graduates in the Master of Athletic Training program, which is Heidelberg’s newest graduate program. The university will also present Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music degrees, with around 300 members of the Class of ’23 receiving diplomas.

Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson (Photo courtesy Heidelberg University)

To kick off the commencement Weekend, Heidelberg will be holding a non-denominational Baccalaureate service on Saturday afternoon, May 13. The keynote sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations of the United Church of Christ and Co-Executive for Global Ministries in the UCC and the Christian Church.

Thompson is an inspiring preacher and theologian, who shares her skills and gifts in a variety of settings, nationally and internationally, often using her poetry as a part of her ministry. Heidelberg has had a long affiliation with the UCC, and Thompson will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during commencement.

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