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From the Ceremony
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Commencement Speaker (May 2013):
Frank Occhiogrosso, PhD
Noted Scholar of Shakespeare
Professor of English, Drew University
Forty-three-year faculty veteran
Occhiogrosso is the author of four acclaimed books and more than 20 scholarly articles, many of which offer new insights into the works of Shakespeare. He has also published more than 60 book and theatre reviews. His frequent public presentations on literature—including his long-standing participation in Drew’s Minicourses program at the Madison Public Library—have led to his reputation as a local treasure. During his career at Drew, he has taught more than 35 undergraduate and graduate courses on topics that range from Elizabethan Drama to Shakespeare’s Comedies to Detective Fiction. He holds MA and PhD degrees from The Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s from St. John’s University. Occhiogrosso will retire from the Drew faculty at the end of the spring 2013 term, making his Commencement address his last lecture.
Honorary Degree Candidates (May 2013):
Holocaust Survivor and Educator
Member and Benefactor, Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study
Brasch, a Holocaust survivor and educator, is currently a member and benefactor of Drew’s Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study. She has appeared a number of times on campus to speak with students about her wartime experiences, which included internment at Auschwitz, one of the Nazi’s regime’s most feared concentration camps, at the age of 14. Brasch was also imprisoned in a slave labor camp in Bremin, Germany, before her liberation from Bergen Belsen. She arrived in the United States in 1947, where she became an occupational therapist. She currently resides in Springfield, N.J.
Edward Poitras, PhD G’66
Former Professor of Church History, Methodist Theological University, Seoul, Korea
Professor Emeritus of World Christianity, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
Poitras, who earned a PhD from Drew in 1966, spent most of his career at the Seoul Methodist Theological University, where he has been credited with raising academic standards. During his 33 years in Korea, he became a national celebrity through his books and his highly acclaimed newspaper columns, published in several of Korea’s most popular periodicals, which offered observations about society and culture. Poitras was a close friend of two Korean Presidents, Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung, which made him a valuable source of counsel to U.S. government officials seeking advice on matters of foreign policy. He also served on the U.S.’s Korean Fulbright Commission. Upon his return to the United States he taught at Perkins School of Theology, S.M.U. In retirement, Poitras has been active in providing food aid to North Korean citizens, and is one of that country’s few foreign visitors who has been allowed to reside and to travel outside the capital to smaller rural towns and villages.