British ocean rower to address TU's 750+ spring graduates

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The University of Tulsa will hold its 129th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 5, 2012 in the Donald W. Reynolds Center on TU's campus. British ocean rower and environmentalist Roz Savage will deliver the commencement address.

Seven hundred seventy-four graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony, which is free and open to the public. Those attending the event are asked to be in their seats by 9:30 a.m. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be broadcast online at

Roz SavageIn 2006, Roz Savage completed a solo row across the Atlantic, and in 2010 became the first woman to row solo across the Pacific. She has rowed over 11,000 miles, taken 3.5 million oar strokes, and spent cumulatively nearly a year of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. Savage is a United Nations Climate Hero and an Athlete Ambassador for She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an International Fellow of the Explorer's Club of New York, and has been listed amongst the Top 20 Great British Adventurers by the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph. In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. Her inspirational book, Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean, is published by Simon & Schuster.

This year, TU will recognize Edmund Rybicki, professor of mechanical engineering; Robert Sheaff, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Charles Wood, associate professor of marketing as the university's 2011-2012 Outstanding Teachers.

TU's Medicine Wheel Award honors faculty, staff, students, and student organizations that have provided outstanding community service. Medicine Wheel recipients for 2011-12 are Julianne O'Brien, administrative assistant, Office of Student Affairs; Charlie Wood, associate professor of marketing, Collins College of Business; senior Neal Sharma, the Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences; and the Will Rogers High School Mentor Program Dream Project, founded by senior Kellyn Smith, College of Engineering & Natural Sciences.

The University of Tulsa's Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration recognizes teachers who contributed significantly to the intellectual and personal growth of a TU graduating senior while the student was in high school. Teachers, who are nominated by students, receive a cash prize of $2,000; and $1,000 is awarded to the teacher's high school to be used in a way the teacher specifies. The 2011-12 recipients of the Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration are Cynthia Burgett, Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, Kansas; Ben Shuman, Niceville High School, Niceville, Florida; and Perri Black, Metro Christian Academy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

For more information about TU's Spring Commencement, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 918-631-2327, or visit the commencement website at

Mona Chamberlin