At its 144th Commencement on Saturday, May 30, Elmhurst College will confer honorary doctoral degrees on four individuals whose work has contributed significantly to the diverse areas of health care, music, theology and philanthropy.
The commencement address will be given by honorary degree recipient Christina Ryan, an Elmhurst College alumna (Class of 1982) who has devoted her career to advancing quality health care, especially for women and children.
Elmhurst College confers honorary degrees on individuals whose commitments and achievements embody the College’s mission, vision and core values.
Besides Ryan, the 2015 honorary degree recipients are Craig Dykstra, an esteemed theologian and scholar in the Divinity School at Duke University; Bobby Shew, an internationally acclaimed musician and teacher who has performed frequently at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival; and Alfred Koplin, a business leader and local philanthropist who has served on the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees for 35 years.
More about the honorary degree recipients:
- Christina Ryan is chief executive officer and chief nursing officer of The Women’s Hospital in Newburgh, Indiana. Recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the nation’s top female executives to know in health care, Ryan presides over an institution that has won the JD Power and Associates award for Inpatient Service Excellence for three years in a row. In previous roles, she secured $2.7 million for the City of Hammond, Indiana, as part of a national program to reduce infant mortality, and served as director of women and children’s services at St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Northwest Indiana.
- Craig Dykstra is research professor of practical theology and senior fellow in leadership education at Duke Divinity School. A nationally esteemed theologian, scholar and ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dykstra served as senior vice president for religion at the Lilly Endowment for 23 years before joining the faculty at Duke Divinity School in 2012. Under his leadership, the Lilly Endowment made more than $1.5 billion in grants in support of religious initiatives such as the theological exploration of vocation on church-related college campuses and scholarship in a variety of theological disciplines.
- Bobby Shew is an internationally acclaimed trumpeter, teacher, composer and recording artist whose credits include performances with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Robert Goulet, Steve Allen and Tom Jones. A frequent guest at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, Shew has received several Grammy nominations and numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance and Education from the International Trumpet Guild, as well as the Lifetime Jazz LeJENd Award from the Jazz Educators Network.
- Alfred N. Koplin is a real estate investor and business leader and the president of Alfred N. Koplin, Inc. He has served on the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees since 1981 and has been a generous donor to the College and to the community at large. Koplin’s gifts to Elmhurst College have supported faculty, student scholarships and curriculum development, and Koplin also was instrumental in initiating the College’s new academic collaborations with John Marshall Law School.