SPRING COMMENCEMENT Congressman to deliver keynote address at Thiel
A bishop, banker and former businesswoman also will be honored.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- U.S. Rep. Phil English of Erie, R-3rd, will be the keynote speaker for Thiel College's spring commencement at 2 p.m. May 14.
English, who is serving his sixth term in a district that includes Erie County and parts of Armstrong, Butler, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties, also will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony.
Also receiving honorary doctorates during commencement exercises will be Ralph E. Jones, bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Virginia Lancaster McGarvey and Peter Mortensen.
English's address is titled "Recommit to Civic Duty."
English was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 to the seat that Tom Ridge had vacated in his successful run for governor of Pennsylvania. Before his election, he served as Erie controller from 1985 to 1989. He also served as chief of staff for then-state Sen. Melissa Hart.
In his first term, English became the first freshman Republican in nearly 30 years to be appointed to the Ways and Means Committee, which handles legislation affecting taxes, trade, health, Medicare, Social Security and welfare. He is the only member of the Pennsylvania delegation on the Ways and Means Committee.
English received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bishop Jones, who has led the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod since 2001, will be awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree. He was nominated for the honor by the Rev. Martin M. Roth, class of '66, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenville.
Bishop Jones, the synod's second bishop, previously served as a pastor with Zion Lutheran Church in Oil City, Pa.; Faith Lutheran Church in Apollo, Pa.; Town and Country Lutheran Ministry, a cooperative ministry of 19 small membership congregations from four counties in Apollo, Pa.; and St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Corry, Pa.
Bishop Jones earned a bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College and master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He also received a master's degree in theology and ethics from Duquesne University.
Bishop Jones and his wife, the Rev. Sandra K. Jones, live in Oil City, Pa.
Virginia Lancaster McGarvey
McGarvey, a lifelong resident of Erie and a member of the Thiel College class of 1956, will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree. While a move to Illinois in 1955 prevented her from graduating with her class, McGarvey has remained a friend to Thiel College over the years.
McGarvey and her husband, Ray, are the former owners of Meadow Brook Dairy and Country Fair convenience stores. Nominated by friend and alumnus the Rev. Dr. Albert U. Gesler Jr., class of '56, McGarvey has long been dedicated to community service and has served on numerous civic and church organizations.
McGarvey earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois. She and her husband reside in Erie.
Mortensen, chairman FNB Corp., a New York Stock Exchange company based in Hermitage, will be awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree.
A lifelong resident of Mercer County, Mortensen was reared in Greenville. He began his banking career in 1955 as a loan teller with First National Bank of Mercer County. During his career, he oversaw the growth of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, now FNB Corp., from two offices and $7 million in assets to 201 offices and $5.5 billion in assets.
Mortensen has served in various leadership roles in education, health care and social service organizations.
Mortensen, who earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster, lives in Naples, Fla., with his wife, Collette.