West Virginia Wesleyan College / File photo

Wesleyan announces Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients

Buckhannon, W.Va. — West Virginia Wesleyan College will host its 128th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. in the John D. Rockefeller IV Physical Education Building. This year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients are driving forces in healthcare, public policy, education, banking, and the performing arts.

Wesleyan will honor three candidates with honorary degrees. Those candidates are Dr. Deborah Trautman ’80, William B. Grant ’75, and Roger Humphries. In addition, nearly 250 students will walk in graduation ceremonies from 26 states and spanning 12 countries from Japan to Austria.

Honorary Degree Candidates

William B. Grant, Esq. ’75 is receiving an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. He retired as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of First United Bank & Trust in Oakland, Md. in 2016. He has served Wesleyan as both a trustee and an alumni/admission volunteer.

He has helped identify and recruit students to the College from Garrett County, MD for over 30 years and has served as a trustee since 2006. He will retire from the Board at the end of this fiscal year. He was a member of the West Virginia Bankers Association and was elected to the board of directors of the American Bankers Association.

A past chair of the Leadership Maryland Board of Directors, he also has served as chair on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, chair of the Board for the Foundation of Garrett Regional Medical Center, chair of the American Bankers Association Community Bankers Council, and a past member of the University System of Maryland Foundation Board.

In 2017, he was the recipient of the Community Trust Foundation of Cumberland, Maryland’s Humanitarian Leadership Award for his service to many local organizations.

His happiest accomplishment is being a 40-year member of the Oakland-Mountain Lake Park Lions Club.

A 1975 graduate of Wesleyan, he earned a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University of School of Law. He resides in Oakland, Md. with his wife Laurie Van Arsdale Grant ’74.

Roger Humphries is receiving an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Jazz drummer Humphries, rose to national prominence because of his work with jazz legend Horace Silver in the mid-1960s.

A native of Pittsburgh’s North Side, he recorded with Silver on three of his most famous recordings, Jody Grind, Cape Verdean Blues, and Song for my Father. He has since worked with countless jazz luminaries and is an internationally acclaimed artist in his own right. Returning to Pittsburgh to raise his family, he became active in philanthropy and community engagement.

To raise funds for various initiatives such as athletic programs and neighborhood projects, he held annual “Boat Ride” jazz cruises aboard Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper. Recognizing that many of the students who attend Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) come from a socioeconomic background that presents barriers to college attendance, Humphries created a college scholarship fund.

For nearly six decades, Humphries has mentored, taught, and shaped generations of jazz musicians in and around Pittsburgh, including multiple students from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He was the first and longest serving percussion instructor at CAPA, and many of his students have achieved national and international acclaim in jazz and commercial idioms.

Humphries’ dedication to education can be seen outside of the classroom as well. He has maintained a regular jam session with his band serving as the core of this experience for over 30 years.

Honorary Degree Candidate and Commencement Speaker

Deborah Trautman ’80, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, is receiving an honorary Doctorate of Science. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Formerly the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Transformation at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she has held clinical and administrative leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Johns Hopkins Medical.

She served as the Vice President of Patient Care Services for Howard County General Hospital and the Director of Nursing for Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Trautman also held a joint appointment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She is a member of the Secretary of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Special Medical Advisory Group.

In addition, she is the program director of the New Careers in Nursing project, and serves as the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Treasurer/Secretary since 2015. She continues to serve on the National Academies of Science, Global Forum, and Envisioning the Future of Health Professional Education.

An advisory member, she is past chair for Academy Health’s Interdisciplinary Research Interest Group on Nursing Issues.

She is also a 2007/2008 Robert Johnson Health Policy Fellow who worked for the Honorable Nancy Pelosi.

Dr. Trautman received a BSN in 1980 from Wesleyan, an MSN from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy from the University of Maryland. In 2018, she was presented the Alumni Achievement Award from the College for her career achievements.



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