Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Class of 2017 to Celebrate Baccalaureate, Commencement

April 26, 2017 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan will celebrate its 173rd commencement May 13. OWU alumnus and international business executive Andres Duarte will serve as the keynote speaker. (Photo by Spenser Hickey '15)

Community Invited as Students Reflect Upon OWU Experiences May 12, Receive Diplomas May 13

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s graduating seniors will reflect upon and celebrate their college journeys May 12 during baccalaureate and then receive their diplomas May 13 at commencement.

Baccalaureate will begin at 7 p.m. May 12 in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The event is planned by students with assistance from the university Chaplain’s Office. Baccalaureate typically features poetry and verse readings, personal reflections, and dance and music performances. Ohio Wesleyan’s Religious Life Awards also are presented at the annual event.

The Class of 2017 Baccalaureate Committee has selected “Metamorphosis” as the theme for its celebration. As part of the event, flags from each country represented by a 2017 graduate will displayed on stage.

“We have chosen the theme ‘Metamorphosis’ to reflect the nature of our spiritual journey here at Ohio Wesleyan,” committee members said. “While at OWU, we have been blessed with opportunities to step outside of our comfort zones, explore new cultures, relate to new people, and reflect on our own beliefs.

“When we entered college, we had a great deal to learn about the world and our relationship to it,” they said. “We emerge now, perhaps not with all the answers, but with strengthened mind, spirit, and soul.”

Following baccalaureate, more than 380 Ohio Wesleyan seniors are set to cross the stage May 13 to claim their diplomas, turn their tassels, and conclude their undergraduate careers.

The university’s 173rd annual commencement ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. May 13 on Merrick Lawn, located outside Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. In case of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved into Gordon Field House inside the Branch Rickey Physical Education Center, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, with admission by ticket only.

International business executive Andres Duarte, a 1965 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, will deliver the keynote address at commencement. Duarte is the founder and managing director of Caracas, Venezuela-based Duarte Vivas & Associates, C.A. The company is an “idea incubator” specializing in commodity brokerage and trading, representation of foreign companies, and consulting services. It also serves as a reference point for entrepreneurial activity in the region.

During his time at Ohio Wesleyan, Duarte majored in geology and economics. He also holds a Master of Science degree in geology from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Lee LeBoeuf, president of the Ohio Wesleyan Class of 2017, also will speak during the graduation celebration. LeBoeuf is a psychology major and biology minor from Dayton, Ohio.

Both Ohio Wesleyan’s baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies will be streamed live online at Learn more about the events at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at