BGSU announces May 2019 commencement speakers

Bowling Green State University’s 294th commencement will take place May 17 and 18, and will include three ceremonies in Bowling Green and one in Huron.

Alumni John Starcher Jr., Mizell Stewart III and Dean Pees will serve as the Bowling Green speakers. Alumnus Jacob Smith will serve as the BGSU Firelands speaker, with alumna and current student Melanie Craig as the Firelands student speaker.

Starcher, president and CEO of Bon Secours Mercy Health, will speak at the 7 p.m. May 17 ceremony. As the leader of one of the largest health care systems in the country, he oversees the development of system strategies and operations for 43 Mercy Health and Bon Secours hospitals and more than 1,000 sites of care across Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from BSGU in 1993 and a J.D. from the University of Toledo.

In more than three decades as a journalist, Stewart has been an award-winning reporter, top newsroom editor in three states, radio and television broadcaster and corporate news executive; he will speak at the 9 a.m. May 18 ceremony. Today, Stewart is a senior news executive for Gannett and the USA Today Network, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the founder of Emerging Leaders LLC, a leadership development consulting firm focused on mid-career professionals. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from BGSU in 1994 and a master’s degree from Northern Kentucky University.

Pees, a two-time Super Bowl winning coach, will speak at the 2 p.m. May 18 ceremony. A 1972 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in education, Pees has taught and coached football for 46 years at all levels: high school, college and the NFL. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Before his 15 years in the NFL, Pees spent 25 years as a college coach and six years as a high school teacher and coach.

Smith, the congressional staff assistant for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur covering veteran services, military, IRS and postal service casework, will speak at the 7:30 p.m. May 18 BGSU Firelands ceremony in Huron. Smith served in the U.S. Army from 2000-04 as a field artilleryman and was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, with the 1st Armored Division as a sergeant from 2003-04. He earned an associate degree from BGSU Firelands in 2007, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2009 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2011, from the Bowling Green campus.

Craig holds two associate degrees from BGSU Firelands, in human services and science, and now is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work, with a minor in political science. She plans to graduate in August 2019. A nontraditional student, she enrolled in BGSU Firelands in spring 2015 and has been active in student organizations and special events on and off campus.

Visit the Commencement webpage for more details.