Lakeland News Posting

Lakeland celebrates 50th commencement with a keynote by its first president, recognition of founders

Posted: May 1, 2017 | Updated: May 5, 2017

In celebration of Lakeland's 50th commencement, Wayne L. Rodehorst, Ph.D., the first president of Lakeland, will be the keynote speaker at the College’s commencement exercises to be held Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. Dr. Rodehorst served as Lakeland’s president from 1967?1981.

Lakeland’s highest honor, the Distinguished Community Service Award, will be presented to John F. Platz of Mentor, a charter faculty member and Lake County Commissioner from 1973-1977.

Four graduates from Lakeland’s first graduating class in 1968, and 12 charter faculty and administrators from 1967, will also attend this year’s ceremony.

As Lakeland’s first president, Dr. Rodehorst helped develop the College’s first curricula and selected the initial faculty from among hundreds of applicants. He ensured that course approvals and accreditations were received and that space was leased and remodeled and equipped for college use within three months of receiving notification that he was selected to be the college’s first president. In September 1967, 1,073 students enrolled that first semester.

Fifty-seven students transferred in to Lakeland in 1967 and were able to complete their associate degrees in the first year. Lakeland’s first commencement was held at St. James Episcopal Church in Painesville June 11, 1968, only nine months after Lakeland opened its doors. Attending the 50th commencement ceremony from the first class will be Alan Cordas of Mentor, Ohio, Robert Peters of Maxwell, Texas, Jerry Orf of Mentor, Ohio, and Vernon Sanborn of Frankfort, Illinois.

More than 2,500 friends and family members are expected to attend the College’s ceremony at an outdoor pavilion on campus. Ceremony music will be performed by The Lakeland Civic Band, under the direction of Chuck Frank who celebrates 40 years at its helm. The 2017 commencement ceremony is Frank’s last as he retires at the end of May.

Lakeland Commencement 2017 highlights include:

  • 863 students that will receive degrees
  • The oldest graduate is 66; the youngest is 16
  • College Credit Plus students graduating number 73 and represent 18 high schools
  • Holden University Center graduates from partner institutions number 97 undergraduate and 76 graduate students.

About Wayne L. Rodehorst, Ph.D.

Born and raised on a Nebraska farm, Dr. Rodehorst’s humble beginnings included an elementary education in a one-room schoolhouse. He earned his bachelor of fine arts and master’s degrees at Nebraska State College-Kearney and later earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. He later taught as a public school teacher at all grade levels. His role as educator grew with responsibilities as high school principal, school superintendent, college dean, vice president and finally president of Lakeland.

Dr. Rodehorst is the recipient of numerous awards including the Governor’s Award for the Advancement of the Prestige of Ohio, an honorary doctorate from Lake Erie College, three major awards from the Boy Scouts of America and the Community Service Award of Wolves International and a member of Who’s Who’s in American Higher Education. In 2007, he received Lakeland’s highest honor, the Distinguished Community Service Award. His past also involved membership in Rotary International, Gyro International, the Masonic Lodge, and service on state committees of higher education and as a consultant with the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

In 2013, Lakeland’s board of trustees voted to name the Performing Arts Center in his name. While serving as Lakeland’s president, Dr. Rodehorst directed the construction of the performing arts area to ensure that superior acoustics and architecture be incorporated into the building. Today, the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center continues to represent the legacy of excellence that he left for the college. The Lakeland Foundation subsequently established the Wayne L. Rodehorst Endowed Fund for Arts Scholarships to advance creative opportunities for Lakeland arts students.

Since retiring in 1981, Dr. Rodehorst and his wife have traveled 60,000 miles by sailboat through the Caribbean. They now reside in Hampton, Virginia. Their family includes three grown sons, nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Related Links:

  • May 13 commencement live stream
  • By: Jessica Novak, Mrktg and Commun Specialist

    Media Contact:
    Kerry Jonke