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College to Hold 136th Commencement May 5

Former Court of Appeals Judge to Present Graduation Address

April 23, 2012

Wilmington College will confer 307 degrees and two honorary doctorates at its 136th Commencement May 5.

The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, retired judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, will present the Commencement address to the Class of 2012.

Jones and David L. Raizk, former mayor of Wilmington and a WC alumnus, will receive honorary Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Humane Letters degrees, respectively.

Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds will preside over the ceremony with assistance from Board of Trustees chair Sidney Mishkin and Erika Goodwin, interim vice president for academic affairs. Reynolds will confer the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees to graduates from WC’s main campus, Cincinnati Branch in Blue Ash and degree completion program at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Jones has been prominent in the legal profession for more than 50 years. He left private practice in Youngstown in 1960 after being appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. In 1967, he served as assistant general counsel to President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission.

He assumed the responsibility of general counsel for the NAACP from 1969 to 1979. President Jimmy Carter then named Jones to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, a position he held from 1979 through his retirement in 2002.

He has since served as chief diversity and inclusion officer with Blank Rome LLP and co-chair of the National Underground Railroad and Freedom Center in Cincinnati through its opening in 2004. Also, Jones is director emeritus of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and is serving as co-chair for the World Choir Games 2012 in Cincinnati.

Among his numerous awards and honors, Jones has received the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award of Excellence, Fifth Third Bank’s designation as one of “The 50 Most Influential Blacks in Cincinnati in the Last Half Century” and the city’s Chamber of Commerce recognized him as one of the “Great Living Cincinnatians.”

Raizk is a lifelong resident of Wilmington with a close affiliation with the College.

He is a 1968 graduate of Wilmington High School and an alumnus with WC’s Class of 1972.
Raizk is a founder of the Wilmington College Summer Festival of the Arts, which — now known as College-Community Summer Theatre — will celebrate its 40th anniversary with this summer’s production. He is a veteran of more than 50 College and community shows on the Heiland Theatre stage as actor, director or producer.

He served for 17 years on the College’s Board of Trustees and chaired the Presidential Search Committee that brought Dan DiBiasio to Wilmington in 1995. Also, he served on the Search Committee that selected Jim Reynolds as president earlier this year.

Raizk has 30 years of service to the community, the highlight of which is serving as mayor of Wilmington from 2000 through 2011 and chairing the Economic Task Force from DHL’s announced departure in 2008 through 2011.

He was director of public safety from 1981 to 1983 and president of City Council from 1984 through 1999.

Also, Raizk chaired the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Center Board for 25 years and is past chair of the Clinton County United Way. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Improvement Corporation since 2002.

He has been general manager at Bill Marine Ford since 1978.

Raizk and his wife, Mary Ann, are the parents of two daughters, Leyla Raizk and Lauren Raizk Wulff. Lauren and her husband, Joshua, both of whom are 1999 WC graduates, have two children, Holden and Barrett.