The Honorable John Gerrard to Deliver NWU Commencement Address

The Honorable John M. Gerrard will deliver the address at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s 124th commencement on Saturday, May 18.

His address, “Follow Your Passion, Serve Others, Do the Right Thing,” will be shared with approximately 385 undergraduate and 112 graduate students during commencement exercises, which begin at 6:30 p.m. on Taylor Commons, located on the university’s campus.

Gerrard was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a U.S. district judge for the district of Nebraska and was confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 2012. He served on the Nebraska Supreme Court from 1995 to 2012.

On the Nebraska Supreme Court, Gerrard chaired the Gender Fairness Task Force, the Minority Justice Committee, the Judicial Branch Education Committee and the Court Interpreters Committee.

A 1976 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University, Gerrard has been honored with the Nebraska College of Law Black Student Association’s Outstanding Community Leader Award, the Nebraska Judicial System’s Distinguished Judge for Improvement of the Judicial System Award, and the Nebraska State Bar Foundation’s Legal Pioneer Award.

He was recognized with Nebraska Wesleyan’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1999, and he will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from NWU during commencement exercises.

Robert B. Harris, retired President/CEO of MDS Harris, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. An active volunteer and devoted public servant, Harris has served on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations including Nebraska Wesleyan University's Board of Trustees and Board of Governors spanning 18 years. He served as Board chair from 1996 to 1999.

The university will also recognize retiring faculty, Muriel Skoug, professor of mathematics, who has taught at NWU for 33 years; and Jan Vermeer, professor of political science, who is retiring after 39 years at NWU.

Commencement day begins with a hooding ceremony for master’s degree candidates at 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. A baccalaureate service for all graduates begins at 4 p.m. at the church, located at 50th Street & St. Paul Ave., with an outdoor commencement ceremony on Taylor Commons at 6:30 p.m.

See a complete Commencement Day schedule of events.



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Judge John Gerrard will deliver the commencement address on May 18.