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CMU names December commencement speakers

Three ceremonies planned for Dec. 17

Contact: Dan Digmann

​Central Michigan University's August and fall graduates will hear from an inspiring businessman, a passionate motivational speaker and a thought leader in science. They will share their wisdom with more than 3,100 graduates Dec. 17.

Keynote speakers for the commencement ceremonies include:

  • Nick Krzyzaniak, '86, general manager of Danone North America;
  • Christine Holton Cashen, '89, motivational speaker; and
  • Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center.

The three ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students will take place in the John G. Kulhavi Events Center's McGuirk Arena.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony, Nick Krzyzaniak will share his insights as the manager of Danone's seven North American business units. Danone's product areas range from fresh dairy to water, baby nutrition and medical nutrition. Krzyzaniak previously served as president and chief executive officer of Danone Canada, where he led a team of 550 employees from a once-declining business to a prosperous company. Krzyzaniak, who earned his bachelor's degree from CMU in 1986, will receive a Doctor of Commercial Science honorary degree.

Christine Holton Cashen, a certified speaking professional, will empower graduates with laughter and wisdom with her energetic presence during the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Her humorous speaking style is known for sparking innovative ideas, handling conflicts, reducing stress and connecting with audiences. Cashen has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia for more than 15 years inspiring audiences. In 2014, Cashen was inducted into the National Speakers Association's Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame by her colleagues. She earned her bachelor's degree from CMU in 1989 and will receive a Doctor of Letters honorary degree.

Tonya Matthews, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Science Center, will speak at the 6 p.m. ceremony. As the Michigan Science Center's first permanent chief executive, she is committed to inspiring others to discover and explore science, technology, engineering and math. Matthews previously served as vice president of museums for the Cincinnati Museum Center for more than eight years. There she created the museum's signature early childhood educator training program available to more than 150 teachers annually. Matthews will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree.


Directions to the John G. Kulhavi 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.

Visit the CMU commencement website

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