Two distinguished Ohioans to speak at summer commencement

William Considine, President of Akron Children’s Hospital. Photo courtesy of

Rex Santus

Summer commencement is Saturday, and the university has lined up two noted Ohioans to send off its graduates.

Chancellor John Carey of the Ohio Board of Regents will speak at 9:30 a.m. to students receiving bachelor’s degrees. Carey served a combined 17 years in the Ohio legislature before moving to a position at Shawnee State University and later the Board of Regents.

At a later ceremony, William Considine, who has been president of Akron Children’s Hospital for the last 35 years, will speak to graduate and doctoral students. The afternoon gathering is slated for 1:30 p.m.

Kent State is handing out 1,593 degrees — including 836 bachelor’s, 450 master’s and 83 doctoral degrees. In addition, the university will dole out 198 associate and 21 educational-specialist degrees.

Both speakers applauded the university’s push to revitalize downtown Kent, as well as connect the school to the city.

“A thing I think is very exciting is the president’s initiative to connect with the community of Kent and build a stronger connection there,” Carey said.

Not only the off-campus happenings make Kent State an exciting place to be, Carey said. The educational opportunities are equally worthwhile.

“I think we’ll be talking about the opportunity that a higher education — being a graduate of Kent State University — brings,” Carey said.

“Once you graduate … you have an education that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.”

Considine is one of the longest-tenured hospital chief executives in the country. On top of his work with Akron Children’s Hospital, he also serves as a health-care “innovation adviser” to Gov. John Kasich.

According to a university news release, he is a “nationally and internationally” recognized advocate on issues affecting children’s health care.

He said he has a much more personal reason to speak at commencement.

“This year, my daughter will be one of the graduates in that class,” he said. “My daughter’s getting her master’s there.”

Cathryn O’Malley, who will receive her master’s in health administration, will graduate this weekend. She’s also married to a Kent State alumnus.

“It’s an honor and a privilege,” Considine said of speaking. “I’ll be wearing a couple hats: one as a commencement speaker, and one as a very proud father.”

Considine said Kent State graduates are “very special,” and he could not be more pleased with his daughter’s experience at the university.

Kent State “has a very proud history and heritage and tradition behind it,” Considine said. “The work that’s playing out downtown Kent is truly marvelous.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].