First Registered Student Willis “Bill” Rambo ’64 Returns to Walsh University 60 Years Later to Deliver Commencement Address and Receive Honorary Doctorate

Walsh University Announces May 4, 2024 Commencement; Invites Original Class of 1964 to Commencement Ceremonies

The 2024 Commencement Ceremonies at Walsh University will be special indeed. Not only will the University be recognizing the Class of 2024, who did not receive a traditional high school graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the first graduating class of 1964. In a full circle moment, Walsh University is pleased to announce that Willis “Bill” Rambo ’64, known for being Walsh’s first registered student, will return to deliver the 2024 Commencement Address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business during graduation exercises set for Saturday, May 4, 2024.

The University will host two ceremonies, the first will be at 8:30 a.m., for the graduates of the DeVille School of Business and the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences. The second ceremony will be at 2:45 p.m., for graduates of the Byers School of Nursing and the School of Arts, Sciences and Education.  Both ceremonies will be held in the Cecchini Health and Wellness Complex, Alumni Arena. A Baccalaureate Mass will be held at 12:30 p.m. in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel.

Members of the original 47 graduates from the first graduating class of 1964 will be invited back to campus to be recognized during the ceremony, along with members of Walsh’s founding order, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who were a significant presence on campus, contributing actively to the administration of the newly established college while engaging in teaching and mentoring students including Rambo.

Bill Rambo and his wife, Trina Rambo, have remained close to Walsh throughout the years.

“I am deeply honored to return to Walsh University as the 2024 Commencement Speaker,” said Bill Rambo. “My experiences at Walsh, particularly the mentorship of the Brothers, have profoundly shaped my life and career. I look forward to sharing my reflections and insights with the graduating class as they embark on their own journeys.”

After his graduation in 1964, Rambo served in the National Guard before embarking on a successful 36-year career in the property/casualty insurance business across Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. Notably, he spent 15 years as Vice President of Brown + Brown, Inc., and served as President of their subsidiary, MacDuff Underwriters, Inc., until his retirement on January 1, 2000. Rambo's career reached a pinnacle in 1997 with the founding of the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, where he played a pivotal role as its first Vice Chairman and later as Chairman, establishing it as an industry self-regulatory body for excess and surplus lines insurance in Florida.

The Rambo family, all of whom attended Walsh, have significantly impacted the University's growth and development. Making an initial gift to Walsh University in 2016, they established the Rambo Family Advanced Nursing Lab and The Rambo Family Endowed Scholarship. At that time, they also endowed the Trina Rambo R.N., Dean’s Chair of the Byers School of Nursing. The Rambos initiated the Rambo Global Health Scholars Program, which aids students in exploring diverse healthcare landscapes through global experiences. In 2020, they also contributed to infrastructure upgrades with the Bill Rambo Admissions Center, highlighting their dedication to fostering the next generation of Walsh University students. Their support underscores their strong belief in the school's mission and values, leaving a lasting legacy.

Complete information about Walsh University's 2024 Commencement Ceremony including ticket information.