The Walsh University community came together on Sunday, December 17, to celebrate the academic and personal accomplishments of its 300 winter graduates as they received their respective associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. The ceremony included Walsh University President Richard Jusseaume, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Douglas Palmer, invocation by Senior Chaplain Rev. Thomas Cebula and musical selections by the Walsh Chamber Singers. The Senior Address was presented by SPS Graduate Rebecca McClish.
Commencement Speaker Christian Long, Ed.M., was awarded the Walsh University Distinguished Service Medal. This honor is awarded to those who have rendered distinguished professional or voluntary service to others within the national, regional or local Walsh University community. Those who are awarded this honor reflect the University’s steadfast commitment to the strength of noble character.
“School design visionary. Creative educator. A change agent. This year’s recipient certainly has distinguished himself with his profession,” said President Richard Jusseaume. “And he has served Walsh University very well, helping us to launch our most exciting and innovative building to date.”
Founding Partner of WONDER, By Design, a future-of-education design studio, Christian Long is an educator and passionate advocate for innovative learning communities, having spent more than 20 years teaching, coaching, leading experiential education programs and designing schools. Christian’s expertise helped to shape the overall concept and innovative design of Walsh University’s newest academic building, the Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center, opening January 2018.
“When Christian first came on our campus, he helped us in the early thinking about facilities. He helped us create almost 20 different focus groups where students, staff, faculty and administrators came together to answer questions about what we were all about,” said President Jusseaume. “On Feb. 9, when we dedicate our new building, we’ll realize that much of the vision that Christian helped us to articulate has come to pass and is now real. He talked about the environment and ambiance that would foster greater learning. And make it possible for talented teachers working with talented students to use that environment in the pursuit of knowledge and, ultimately, greater education.”
During the initial planning stages of the state-of-the-art building more than five years ago, Christian helped to lead the creative design process on campus. His involvement included organizing University focus groups to visualize the building’s purpose and leading a 2012 community workshop to imagine new models for educating communities. Through his inspiration, he guided Walsh University to envision a dynamic new center that will foster interdisciplinary research and collaboration while serving as a hub for global connectivity.
“When I was first invited here it was as a part of a team. At best we tried to live up to Walsh, not suggest what Walsh should be,” said Christian Long. “One thing that was said to me by a Board of Trustees member, was, ‘I want it on time. I want it on budget. But I don’t want you to be small in terms of what you think is possible. When I walk into this building, I want to believe that it’s not just a great university building. I want to believe that this is where we will launch teams of faith and impact.’ In this building, you don’t get to win as an individual. You get to be here, you and a team, to live and seek in terms of faith and in terms of impact.’”