Mayor, editor and entrepreneur to speak at BGSU commencements


A mayor, a newspaper editor and an entrepreneur will be among the speakers for Bowling Green State University commencement exercises in May.

Toledo Mayor Jack Ford; Thomas Walton, editor of The Blade; and entrepreneur William Dallas of Lake Sherwood, Calif., along with graduating students Melissa Dolejs of Macedonia, David Humphrey of Elyria, and Rebecca Peckinpaugh of McClure will speak during ceremonies Friday and Saturday in Anderson Arena of Memorial Hall.

More than 2,100 students on the Bowling Green and BGSU Firelands College campuses are candidates for degrees.

The Graduate College will hold its ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday. Three separate graduations are planned by the University’s undergraduate colleges on May 10. The College of Arts and Sciences will hold graduation at 9:30 a.m., followed at 1 p.m. by the colleges of Education and Human Development and Musical Arts, and at 4:30 p.m. by the colleges of Business Administration, Technology and Health and Human Services.

Walton is commencement speaker for the Graduate College. A 1965 graduate of Bowling Green, he has worked for The Blade in several capacities. He started as a local reporter in 1965, was promoted to chief of the Columbus bureau in 1972, and became an editorial writer in 1974. He left Toledo a year later to become assistant managing editor at The Monterey Herald, eventually becoming vice president of the Monterey Peninsula Herald Company. Walton returned to Toledo and The Blade in 1995. In addition to serving as editor of the newspaper, he hosts “The Editors.”

Dallas, a 1977 magna cum laude liberal studies graduate of BGSU, will speak at graduation for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Ten years after leaving BGSU, he earned a juris doctorate from the University of Santa Clara School of Law. Chairman emeritus of First Franklin Financial, a nationwide lending company he founded in 1981, he is now chairman and chief executive officer of Sysdome, an Affinity corporation, and MindBox LLC, which provide lenders with decision and support tools. He also co-founded B’B Restaurant Ventures with Fox Sports to create the Fox Sports Grill, which opened in Scottsdale, Ariz., last fall.

Ford will address graduating students in the College of Musical Arts and the College of Education and Human Development. Elected mayor of Toledo in November 2001, he oversees 3,000 employees and is accountable for a $400 million annual budget. Prior to becoming mayor, Ford served in the Ohio legislature and was Democratic leader for three years. Also a former Toledo City Council member, he served as its first African-American president. In addition, he has taught political science at the University of Toledo for 22 years and ethnic studies at BGSU for three years.

Graduating students will hear three outstanding peers give the graduation addresses for the colleges of Business Administration, Health and Human Services, and Technology during 4:30 p.m. ceremonies Saturday afternoon. Dolejs will receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Humphrey, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and Peckinpaugh, a bachelor’s degree in technology.

Dolejs is the daughter of Mark and Carol Dolejs of Macdeonia (1313 Atterbury Drive). She has been involved in Phi Eta Sigma freshmen honor society, the Institute for Supply Chain Management, and the Educational Society for Resource Management.

Humphrey is the son of Daniel and Donna Humphrey of Elyria (249 Georgia Ave.). He has served as school mascot Freddie Falcon, was director of Dance Marathon, and was named 2002 Homecoming King.

Peckinpaugh, who is from McClure (2419 U.S. Route 6), has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She is a member of American Institute of Architecture Students and completed a cooperative education experience with Poggemeyer Design Group.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-9th District) will give the commencement address at BGSU Firelands. Those ceremonies will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the Firelands gymnasium.