MADISON, N.J. — Drew University will hold its 145th annual commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. University President Dr. Vivian A. Bull will preside over the ceremony, which will be held outdoors on the rear lawn of Mead Hall on its Madison campus.

Degrees: The university will confer 599 degrees:

  • 427 Bachelor of Arts from Drew’s College of Liberal Arts.
  • 70 from the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, including the Master of Arts in Teaching, the Master of Fine Arts in Poetry, the Master of Medical Humanities, the Master of Letters, the Doctor of Medical Humanities, Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Letters.
  • 102 from the Theological School, Drew’s oldest academic entity, to students who have earned the Master of Sacred Theology, Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy.

Certificates: The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies will award the Certificate of Medical Humanities to 14 students.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Frank Occhiogrosso, an acclaimed scholar of Shakespeare and 43-year veteran of the Drew faculty, will address graduates. Occhiogrosso, who has authored four acclaimed books and more than 20 scholarly articles, is retiring at the end of this academic year, making this address his last lecture. Dr. Occhiogrosso’s 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. He holds MA and PhD degrees from The Johns Hopkins University, and a BA from St. Johns University.

Honorary Degrees: Two honorary degrees will be awarded at the ceremony:

  • Hedy 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, who earned a PhD from Drew in 1966, spent most of his career as professor of church history 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.

Student Speakers:

  • Ian Smith, of Newton, N.J., has been elected by his classmates to speak on behalf of the graduates of the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Mi Ran Jeon, of Seoul, South Korea, will speak on behalf of graduates of the Theological School and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. She will receive a Master of Divinity degree during the ceremony.

The media is welcome to attend Commencement. The ceremony may also be viewed live online at: