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Former state senator Schwarz to deliver commencement address at Olivet College
May 19, 2004

OLIVET, Mich.Olivet College will recognize approximately 144 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises Sunday, May 23 at 2 p.m., on the colleges Blair Hall lawn. The public is welcome to attend.

Dr. John Joe Schwarz, Battle Creek resident and former state senator, will serve as the commencement speaker. He will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the college. The Rev. Donald Olsen, Ph.D., associate executive secretary for Ministerial Development and Services with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Priyanka Mehra, a senior from London, England, was selected at an open audition to speak on behalf of the graduating class.

Schwarz, an otolaryngological surgeon in Battle Creek, is currently running for the 7th District Congressional seat which covers parts of Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee and Washtenaw counties. He has been a member of the Olivet College Board of Trustees since 1991.

Schwarz served on the Battle Creek City Commission from 1979 to 1987 and as Mayor of Battle Creek from 1985 to 1987. In 1986, he was elected to the Michigan State Senate where he chaired the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Higher Education. He served four terms in the senate.

Schwarz received his bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and his medical degree from Wayne State University. He interned at U.S.C. Los Angeles County Medical Center and served his residency in otolaryngology at Harvard.

Olsen is Dean of the Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies, which provides support and counsel for Congregational Christian Church pastors. He has traveled the world in support of global ministries and Congregational missions in Argentina, Bulgaria, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Olsen earned his bachelors in philosophy and theology from Bethel College in Minnesota, and his masters in divinity from the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. He earned his doctorate in ministries from the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Mehra worked on the student newspaper, the Echo, serving as editor this past year, was a member and a former president of the International Club, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national honors society, and a peer advocate. A dual journalism and communication major, Mehra has served internships in London and New York.


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