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Walsh University Celebrates 2013 Commencement April 28

What's New, 2013-04-23

Renee Powell and Audrea Wynn Honored During Ceremony

Walsh University honored its largest graduating class of 695 students at a special Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, April 28, in the Gaetano M. Cecchini Family Health and Wellness Complex.

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During the ceremony, Walsh also honored PGA Professional and Educator Renee Powell with the Founders' Award and long-time Walsh University Women's Committee Member Audrea Wynn with the Distinguished Service Medal.

The Founders' Award was established in 1985 and is awarded to those who have achieved national stature by illustrating in their lives the same ideals that inspired the Venerable John de La Mennais and Father Gabriel Deshayes in founding the Brothers of Christian Instruction. These ideals are faith in God, fidelity to the Catholic Church, active concern for Christian education, dedication to authentic social justice and courageous promotion of human welfare especially among those less fortunate and disenfranchised.

Renee Powell, Founders’ Award Recipient

PGA Professional and educator Renee Powell is one of only three African -American women to ever compete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. She is the daughter of the late William Powell, the only African-American to design, build, own, and operate a golf course in the United States. Mr. Powell was inducted posthumously on March 12, 2013, into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.

Introduced to golf at age 3, Renee was coached by her father, a PGA Life Member and the 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award recipient. She entered her first amateur tournament at age 12 and won her division. Three years later, she had 30 youth tournament trophies. Powell graduated from Central Catholic High School in Canton in 1964, and attended Ohio University and The Ohio State University, serving as captain of the women’s golf team at each institution.

Powell made her professional debut on the LPGA Tour in 1967 and on a grand stage at the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the United States Golf Association. She competed in 250 professional golf tournaments and won the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Brisbane, Australia, posting a final-round course-record 67.

Powell represented America in the U. S. vs. Japan Team Matches on four separate occasions during the 1970’s. She also was invited to participate in King Hassan’s Tournament in Morocco and was the only American golf professional to play in President Jawara’s Tournament in Gambia. President Kaunda of Zambia personally invited Renee to play with him at the State House Golf Course, the first woman golfer to do so.

In 1971, Powell was one of three golfers who made a USO Tour during the height of the Vietnam War. In 1980, Powell finished her Tour career and taught golf in Africa and Europe. Powell estimates that she has made 25 trips to Africa, serving as a goodwill ambassador of the game of golf. She later returned home to Canton where she currently serves as PGA head professional at Clearview Golf Club.

In 2001, Clearview Golf Club was named to the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 2003, Powell was the recipient of the PGA First Lady of Golf Award. In 2008, Powell marked another historic chapter in her career by becoming the first female golfer and ninth golf professional in the 600-year history of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, to be conferred with an honorary doctor of letters (LLD) degree.

A member of the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame and the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, Powell also was named in 1999 as an honorary member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Division. In 2007, she received the first Rolex “For the Love of the Game” Award. Selected by Golf Digest as one of the top 50 women professional golf instructors, Powell has served as development and programming consultant for The First Tee and began the LPGA Girls Golf Club in East Canton in 2000.

In 2011, Powell set another historic benchmark, founding Clearview HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). It is the sole year-round women’s military rehabilitative golf program in the United States. Today, Clearview HOPE serves more than 50 female veterans from Northern Ohio.

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to those who have rendered distinguished professional or voluntary service to others within the national, regional or local community.

Audrea Wynn, Distinguished Service Medal

Audrea Wynn has served as a dedicated member of the Walsh University Women’s Committee for over 40 years.  As a 1970 charter member, she has held every major leadership position in the organization since its inception and remains an active member today.

During her tenure on the Committee, Wynn has been instrumental in establishing the Walsh Library Book Fund Committee, worked on the Bylaws Committee and served as the Committee’s President twice.  She chaired the Library Memorial Committee, the first Student Journalism Workshop and the 25th Anniversary Decorating Committee.  She was an active member of Annual Campaign (1984-85) and Chairperson of the Annual Campaign Women’s Committee Division in the early 1980’s.  Through various events such as the Fall Fashion Show Luncheon and Kentucky Derby Party, the Walsh Women’s Committee has also provided an annual student scholarship and has helped to finance various university needs including the electronic sign on Market Avenue, landscaping for the Hannon Center, furniture for the executive dining room and new classroom computers among numerous other projects.  The beautiful Welcoming Christ statue located in the Walsh Prayer Garden was also made possible by the generosity of the Women’s Committee in 2011.

In addition to her support of Walsh University, Audrea has served on numerous local organizations and committees including the Timken Mercy Service League, the Girl Scout Council for over 25 years, United Way, YWCA Board, Allen Day Care Center, Catholic Community League Board, Canton Women’s Club Board, Hoover Historical Center and Meals on Wheels.  In 1987, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Junior League of Canton for her extensive volunteer work in the areas of social/cultural, health/welfare and education.  During the 1980’s, she actively co-chaired the committee that established the Allen School Day Care Center in Canton through various fund raising activities.  At that time, the Allen School Day Care was credited as being one of the first in the Canton area to incorporate a learning element into its daily child care activities.  In addition, Audrea has generously dedicated her time and talents to her home parish of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Canton by volunteering on the Liturgy Committee, Women’s Guild, Angel Bazaar and Garden Club, to name a few.

Audrea also served her country in World War II through the US Navy’s WAVE (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) program.  During her service, she was stationed at the Naval Operating Base at Terminal Island, California, from 1943-1945.  A native of Canton, Audrea Hitz married her high school sweetheart, Herbert J. Wynn, in 1946, after he returned home from WWII service as a B-17 pilot in England.  She is the proud mother of four children, grandmother of eight grandchildren and great grandmother of six.