Cleveland State University

News & Announcements

May 12, 2011  |  News Release #14910  |  Contact: Joe Mosbrook, 216.523.7279,
More Than 2,000 Graduates to Celebrate Cleveland State's Spring Commencement on May 14

Five Clevelanders to be presented honorary degrees for outstanding life achievements

Cleveland State University's spring commencement ceremonies will be Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Center, at 2000 Prospect Ave. in Cleveland. Commencement for CSU's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law will be Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. in the Wolstein Center.

The morning ceremony will honor graduates of the Fenn College of Engineering, College of Sciences and Health Professions and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The afternoon ceremony will honor graduates of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, College of Education and Human Services, Nance College of Business Administration and the School of Nursing.

President Ronald M. Berkman will deliver the commencement address at both ceremonies. Both will be preceded by a processional of graduates and faculty, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Five local Clevelanders will be recognized with honorary degrees for their outstanding achievements in global business, teaching, writing, philanthropy and law:

  • William E. Conway, Chairman and CEO of Fairmount Minerals, Ltd Honorary Doctor of Business Administration
  • Entrepreneur Anthony Yuan Tai Yen Honorary Doctor of Education
  • Leonard M. Trawick, Ph.D., Professor of English and Editor, CSU Poetry Center Distinguished Emeritus Faculty Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

The commencement ceremony for CSU's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law on Sunday, May 15 at the Wolstein Center:

  • The Hon. Lillian W. Burke, the first African-American woman in Ohio to serve as judge Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Edna Shalala, pioneering attorney and Cleveland-Marshall alumna Honorary Doctor of Laws

Honorary Degree Profiles

Leonard M. Trawick, Ph.D. has an outstanding record of creative scholarship, teaching and service to Cleveland State from 1969 until his retirement in 1998. One of Ohio's preeminent poets and teachers, he is deeply committed to helping students and local writers fulfill their promise. He became a significant American poet in his own right and an authority on discovering new talent.

He is perhaps best known for his esteemed role as long-term editor of the CSU's Poetry Center. Under his guidance, the Poetry Center blossomed as a small press specializing in new poetry by promising writers, earning a highly respected, international reputation. Today, the Poetry Center has published more than 150 titles, nurtured countless young poets and brought attention to CSU as a center of creative activity. Many writers first published under Dr. Trawick's guidance have developed into poets of national prominence.

William E. Conway is esteemed throughout northeast Ohio for his significant civic and professional contributions that make the region a better place to live, work and succeed. He is Chairman and CEO of Fairmount Minerals, Ltd, one of the largest producers of industrial sand in the United States, headquartered in Chardon with facilities nationwide. The company is committed to sustainable practices and has many innovative programs in place.

Conway is a generous supporter of CSU, contributing major gifts to the Charles R. Emrick/Calfee Halter & Griswold Endowed Professorship and to the Cleveland Schools Book Fund. He is an active supporter of education and healthcare. Conway has also served as Executive Vice President at Pickands Mather & Co., Executive Vice President, Administration for Diamond Shamrock Corporation, and Group Vice President, Capital Goods for Midland-Ross Corporation.

Anthony Yuan Tai Yen has a lifelong passion to promote business and cultural relations between China, the U.S. and Cleveland State. One of the first successful Chinese entrepreneurs in Ohio, he works tirelessly to build Ohio's international trade profile and position Cleveland in global markets.

Yen was key to bringing the prestigious Confucius Institute to CSU in 2007, which has prepared 60 teachers of Chinese and continues to support their work. Through his invaluable efforts as Special Advisor to Preventive Oncology International, Inc., he has affected the lives of millions of women in China who now have access to a low cost testing method to prevent cervical cancer.

Yen served as President or Chairman of nine international companies. His outstanding commitment has been recognized with major awards and appointments from the World Trade Centers Association, U.S. Department of Commerce, the White House and many others.

The Honorable Lillian W. Burke has been a trailblazer in the field of law. She became the first African-American woman in Ohio to serve as a judge when Gov. James A. Rhodes appointed her to the Cleveland Municipal Court bench in 1969, a seat she held until her retirement in 1987. She was also the first woman to serve on the Ohio Industrial Commission.

Judge Burke earned her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law while working as a teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools. She then served three years as an Assistant Attorney General. She has been active with the City Planning Commission, the Landmark Commission and other organizations. The Cleveland Restoration Society recognized her as one who championed historic buildings in Cleveland. In 2003, she received a YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She has been a generous supporter of aspiring Cleveland-Marshall law students through the Judge Lillian W. Burke Scholarship Fund at the Cleveland Foundation.

Edna Shalala worked her way through The Ohio State University during the Depression, earning a degree in physical education. She became a teacher to hearing impaired and physically challenged children, pioneering a creative physical education curriculum for their needs. A class-A ranked tennis player in the 1930s, she played the sport into her eighties on the seniors circuit.

As a wife, mother, full-time teacher and part-time law student, Shalala graduated from Cleveland-Marshall in 1952, one of only six women in a class of 200. At that time, downtown firms did not hire women, so she established her own practice in Cleveland, practicing law for nearly 50 years until retiring at age 90. Long before the term "lifelong learner" became popular, she tackled education with vigor, attending courses at night and returning to Cleveland-Marshall to earn her LLM in 1960. Throughout her remarkable career, she found the drive and courage to assert a woman's right to education and professional fulfillment, long before such paths seemed attainable.

About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, 8 colleges and approximately 200 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2011 as one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

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engaged learning
Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
Euclid Commons, Room 182
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Location
Euclid Commons, Room 182
2502 Euclid Ave.
Phone: 216.687.2290

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