Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held its 60th Year Commencement exercises on May 14, 2005.
Over 400 graduating members were counseled by this years commencement speaker Lois Raimondo - a class of 1981 alumni and an award-winning photojournalist for National Geographic and the Washington Post, according to the Springfield, Ohio-based campus news release. Lois encouraged the graduates to test their knowledge, apply the lessons learned at Wittenberg and stand up for things they believe in.
Be attentive, not just with your eyes and ears, but with your heart, said Raimondo, who was honored in 2002 as a Wittenberg Fellow and was a 2003 Phi Beta Kappa (alumna status) recipient.
Referencing the events of Sept. 11, 2001, she stressed that the world has changed since those terrible events nearly four years ago, just weeks after the majority of the Class of 2005 stepped foot on the Springfield campus.
Raimondo was featured in the Summer 2002 edition of Wittenberg Magazine after capturing readers attention with a 28-page spread in National Geographic that featured her images and words from 10 weeks on the war front in Afghanistan.
She also sent photographs from the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan back to the Washington Post during the U.S.-led war, which earned her a place in the Best of the Post 2001.
Raimondo, a double major in English and East Asian Studies at Wittenberg, has traveled around the world, and she warned that Americans will likely never again feel as comfortable at home as they once did. The world will continue to change, but Wittenberg teaches its students the importance of recognizing, celebrating and understanding diversity.
I know now, 24 years later, how important this place was to my formation, said Raimondo, a 1993 Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Honor inductee for her record-setting exploits in field hockey. Trust in this. Powerful seeds have been planted.
Interim President Bill Steinbrink and Senior Class President Ann Bixel also addressed the crowd, and both made references to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.
I have confidence in your readiness, Steinbrink said. I wish you all good fortune.