Commencement Speakers

John Gawaluck '73 - Friday, May 4

john gawaluck
John Gawaluck
John Gawaluck earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University in 1973. As a student, he was active in Beta Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Pi, Alpha Phi Omega, and was a member of the University’s varsity lacrosse team.

He recently retired from EY after 41 years. EY, formerly Ernst & Young, is a multinational professional services firm. During his tenure with EY as a certified public accountant, he held several key leadership positions and served the firm’s top clients, including many Fortune 250 companies. He has significant expertise in the health sciences and insurance industries, with all types of complex merger and acquisition transactions, and a strong understanding of how to work with regulators. In addition to his client service roles, Gawaluck held several key EY leadership positions, including Arizona managing partner and director of EY’s health sciences and insurance industry practice. He also served as a National Partner Advisory Board member.

Gawaluck now serves as a consultant/instructor for EY’s manager-level technical accounting/auditing courses and is an adjunct graduate school accounting professor at Middle Tennessee State University. He serves on corporate and not-for-profit boards and holds leadership positions with several community organizations including the Nashville Symphony, the United Way, the Adventure Science Center, and the Sexual Assault Center. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Beth Macy '86 - Saturday, May 5 - 9 a.m.

beth macy
Beth Macy
Beth Macy earned a degree of science degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1986. She is the author of the Lukas Prize-winning Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town. New York Times critic In 2016, Macy published Truevine: A Strange and Troubling Tale of Two Brothers in Jim Crow America.

A longtime reporter who specializes in outsiders and underdogs, Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard in 2010. Among the marginalized groups she has chronicled for newspapers and magazines are Hispanic immigrants, African refugees, caregivers for the elderly, veterans with PTSD and displaced factory workers. Her approach to storytelling: report from the ground up, establish trust, be patient, find stories that tap into universal truths.

Factory Man traces the aftereffects of globalization in small communities throughout America. Macy hones in on the outlier story of John Bassett III, who used grit, cunning and sheer will to compete against China — to keep his Galax, Virginia, factory going when almost every other wood-furniture maker in America closed up shop and imported cheaper imports instead instead. By unveiling shocking truths about American business, Factory Man raises a flag for the return of made-in-America products.

Macy has been published in Oprah magazine, Parade, The New York Times, Salon and Christian Science Monitor. For two decades, she was the families beat reporter at The Roanoke (Va.) Times, where many of her longer pieces originated.

Paula Whetsel-Ribeau 81', 07' - Saturday, May 5 - 2 p.m.

Paula Whetsel-Ribeau
Paula Whetsel-Ribeau
Dr. Paul Whetsel-Ribeau earned a bachelor of science and a doctorate in education from Bowling Green State University. She earned a master’s degree in higher education counseling from Kutztown University.

Dr. Whetsel-Ribeau is currently the associate provost for Student Engagement and Success at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She has provided innovative leadership in the development of new academic programs, strategic planning for diversity and inclusion, and collaborative work with faculty and staff in the area of student success. Creating an environment that enables students to experience the rich complexity of life and culture in America has kept her highly motivated throughout her career.

Dr. Whetsel-Ribeau previously worked at Howard University in Washington D.C where she was a co-principal investigator of a $3.4 million, five-year National Science Foundation “Institutional Transformation Grant” established to increase diversity of women in higher education, specifically in STEM fields. She was also the executive director for the Howard University Alternative Spring Break Program and Founder and Chair of the Howard University Women As Change Agents organization. Prior to Howard University, she served as the assistant vice president for Student Affairs and as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Whetsel-Ribeau was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education to the National Board for the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. She is a member of multiple professional organizations, involved in various community service activities, and has provided keynote addresses, presentations, and a range of other levels of support for several of our schools and organizations across campuses as well as throughout many communities both locally and nationally. The numerous awards and citations she has received characterize her commitment to goal attainment, ethical leadership, and a tireless commitment to creating institutions that improve the lives of others.

She is married to Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau, president emeritus of Bowling Green State University.

Justin Harris '00, '01 - Saturday, May 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Justin Harris
Justin Harris
Justin Harris earned an associate of applied science degree in respiratory care technology from BGSU Firelands in 2000 and a bachelor of applied health sciences in 2001. He also holds a juris doctorate from The Ohio State University.

Harris began his legal career as an associate with the law firm of Freund, Freeze, and Arnold, LPA in Dayton, Ohio. In 2005, he accepted a position in Sandusky with the Cleveland-based law firm Reminger CO., LPA. He now serves as the law director for the city of Sandusky.

Since returning to Sandusky, Harris has continued his relationship with BGSU Firelands as an adjunct professor in the legal studies/business department. He also serves as a member of the BGSU Firelands Alumni Board.

Caylie Shover '16 - Saturday, May 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Caylie Shover
Caylie Shover
Caylie Shover began her postsecondary career at BGSU Firelands as a College Credit Plus student from Edison High School. She earned an Associate of Science in 2016 and will earn a Bachelor of Applied Health Science in Allied Health from BGSU Firelands in 2018.

Shover completed the paramedic program at EHOVE Adult Career Center at the age of 19 with certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Ohio Trauma Triage. She went on to become the first female firefighter on the Milan Township Fire Department.

Shover is currently applying to medical schools and plans to become an emergency room physician.