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CMU names spring commencement speakers

More than 3,400 students will receive their degrees

Contact: Dan Digmann


​​​​A prominent dean, an educational pioneer, a top television industry executive and a passionate neuroscientist will share their insights with thousands of Central Michigan University spring graduates May 6 and 7.

Keynote speakers planned for the four commencement ceremonies are:

  • David J. Matty, '77, dean of the College of Science at Weber State University;
  • Belle S. Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges;
  • Eduardo B. Fernandez, '84, vice president and divisional general manager of E.W. Scripps; and
  • Gary L. Dunbar, M.A. '76, professor in the department of psychology and director of the neuroscience program at CMU.

​Matty will speak during the doctoral ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, May 6, in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium.

While at Weber State, Matty contributed to the planning, programming and construction of the university's new 185,000-square-foot science building that will open this fall and house all of the college's departments and programs. He previously worked for 25 years at CMU as a dedicated department of geology faculty member and served as a department chairperson. During his time at CMU, he was instrumental in securing approximately $500,000 in external grants and another $250,000 in equipment donations, as well as establishing the annual CMU Posters at the Capitol event in Lansing, now known as Capitol Scholars. Matty, who earned his bachelor's degree in geology from CMU in 1977, will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree.

Click for directions to Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium.

The three undergraduate/graduate ceremonies will take place Saturday, May 7, in the CMU Events Center's McGuirk Arena.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony, Wheelan will address the audience. She is a groundbreaking educator who has the distinction of being the first African-American and first woman to serve in such a leadership capacity for the SACSCC as well as several other institutions during her career. She has dedicated more than four decades to ensuring current and future generations pursue their degrees through quality academic programs. Wheelan has served in a variety of faculty and leadership roles at different institutions, including provost at Tidewater Community College, president of Central Virginia Community College and Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She will receive a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree.

During the 1:30 p.m. ceremony, Fernandez will address the graduates. He is a dedicated broadcasting executive who oversees 14 stations in larger-market U.S. cities, including WXYZ-ABC and WMYD-MyNet in Detroit, WCPO-ABC in Cincinnati, and KMGH-ABC in Denver. Fernandez also held the distinction of being the only Hispanic general manager of a top 15 market in the country when he was named vice president/general manager of WXYZ-ABC in 2010. Industry peers honored him with the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle Award for his more than 25 years of dedicated service to the broadcast industry. Fernandez, who earned his bachelor's degree in broadcast and cinematic arts from CMU in 1984, will receive a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree.

Dunbar will speak at the 6 p.m. ceremony. He has spent 34 years dedicated to the students of CMU and has served in various roles inside and outside the classroom. These include serving as the John G. Kulhavi Professor of Neuroscience as well as director of the Brain Research and Integrative Neuroscience Center. He is highly respected for his projects to incorporate stem cell transplants, dietary supplements, and pharmacological treatments for cognitive or motor deficits following brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases. He developed the first undergraduate neuroscience major in the state of Michigan, which became a national model and was nationally recognized as the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Neuroscience Program by the Society for Neuroscience. In 2015, Dunbar was named Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year. He earned his master's in psychology and biology from CMU in 1976.

Related links:

Directions to the CMU Events Center's McGuirk Arena

Live stream of the ceremonies —Adobe Flash Player, available free of charge, is required to view the ceremonies; download Adobe Flash player here.


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