Marian University will celebrate its 78th Commencement at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Dennis Bland, president of the Center for Leadership Development, will deliver the Commencement Address, and will also receive an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degree.
Marian University has 652 candidates for degrees this year, including students who will receive the Master of Arts in Teaching from the university’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership.
The ceremony will be held at St. Vincent Health Field on the Marian University campus. If inclement weather prohibits an outdoor ceremony, festivities will be moved to the Physical Education Center on campus.
Three individuals will receive honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degrees during the May 9 Commencement Ceremony:
Dennis E. Bland is president of the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) an Indianapolis non-profit organization dedicated to empowering African-American youth for the highest academic, college, and career success. Founded in 1977, CLD offers 15 curriculum-based youth development experiences, as well as the unique College Prep Institute, which help prepare 6,000 youth and parents per year for academic, college, and career achievement. Prior to joining CLD, Dennis practiced law for nine years, specializing in medical malpractice litigation and insurance law.
Christine and Albert J. “Jim” Hackl started their life together on November 22, 1950, and have partners in all endeavors ever since. Jim is a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Korean War, and enjoyed a successful career with two international manufacturers of air conditioning and heating equipment. In 1968, Jim joined Herff Jones Company in Indianapolis as president and chief executive officer. Over the next 27 years, under Jim’s direction, Herff Jones grew from a small publicly held company to a national leader in its industry with several thousand employees and sales representatives and 19 manufacturing facilities across the country. Jim personally directed a merger between Carnation Company and Herff Jones in 1973 and later its emergence as a privately held company in 1985 through a management buy-out from Nestle’, S. A. In 1989, Jim initiated and led the establishment of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) whereby Herff Jones employees became the 100 percent owners of Herff Jones providing extraordinary financial and job benefits to thousands of employees for the next 25 years, long after Jim’s retirement in 1995. After leaving Herff Jones and having “flunked retirement,” Jim established family partnerships for the purchase and operation of pine tree plantations in Florida and Georgia enhancing the environment through the planting of over 8,000,000 pine trees. Together, Jim and Christine were blessed with eight children. Despite the demands of raising a large family, Christine became an accomplished artist in her own right. Further, she managed to find time to be active in charities and in social and community affairs in all locations where the family lived.