LRU News

University to Hold Graduation Ceremony and Bestow Honorary Degrees

Tue Apr 30 2013

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University will hold spring graduation on Friday, May 10th at 8:00 p.m. in Moretz Stadium on campus. The university will present two honorary doctorates and a Trustee Award at the commencement exercises.

Master’s Degree Hooding and Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium.

At these ceremonies, 230 students will receive their undergraduate degrees and 70 students will receive a master’s degree.

Those being honored on Friday are Michael K. Dugan, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; the Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Miller, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity; and George A. Moretz, who will be awarded the Trustee Award.  

Michael K. Dugan is a successful business leader, teacher, and community supporter. He has served the university for almost two decades in a variety of meaningful ways. Dugan’s service to the university began with his membership on the Visiting Writers Series Steering Committee, where he still serves with distinction and provides ongoing leadership.

Soon after joining the Steering Committee, Dugan assumed the role of Alex Lee Professor of Business and chairman of the Charles M. Snipes School of Business from 2006 until 2012. Dugan drew upon his entrepreneurial talents when he added a lecture series program that brought in nationally known speakers to inspire the students and community. He also worked with the university’s Business Council building bridges with the local community to afford students the opportunities of interacting with professionals in their fields.

Dugan has chaired the Frye Regional Medical Center Board as well as serving on several other boards including WFAE Radio Board, Hickory Museum of Art Board, American Furniture Manufacturers Association Board, National Association of Furniture Manufacturers Board, USC School of Retailing Advisory Board, 3M Company Advisory Panel, and Furniture Foundation Board.

Dugan served as CEO of Henredon Furniture Industries, Morganton, NC from 1987-2004. Using his deep understanding of the furniture business world that he worked in most of his life, Dugan wrote the book Furniture Wars in 2009.

Dugan earned his Masters in Business Administration from Syracuse University and his Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

Dr. Wayne Powell, president of Lenoir-Rhyne, said of Dugan, “As one of the most respected business leaders in the community, many seek him out for advice and support. He has distinguished himself as businessman, author, educator, philanthropist, public servant, and family man.”

The Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Miller served as president of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, SC from 2006 until 2012. Before coming to LTSS, he served as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod, having been elected to that post in 1995. He has pastored two congregations: The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Brooklyn, OH from 1979-1995 and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mt. Vernon, NY, 1973-1979.

Deeply committed to the ecumenical life of the Church, Dr. Miller served as the Chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops Ecumenical Committee from 2001-2006. He participated in Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson’s ecumenical journey to Geneva, Rome, and London in 2002 and served as an official observer at the signing of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification in Augsburg, Germany in 1999. He was also a signatory to Ecumenical Covenants with the Catholic Dioceses of Youngstown and Cleveland and the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio in 1999 and 2000. He has served on the boards of Directors for Trinity Seminary and Wittenberg University and has chaired the Board of the Pastoral Psychology Institute, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Dr. Miller earned the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from New York Theological Seminary in 1978 and 1980. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO with a Master of Divinity in 1971 and received his Bachelor of Arts from Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, IN in 1967.

“Marcus shared a bold and innovative vision for the future of the church,” explained Dr. Powell. “He had a pivotal role in bringing about the merger between the seminary and the university.  In this and many other areas he has been a national leader of our church and we are privileged to be able to honor him.”

George A. Moretz and his family have been most generous supporters of Lenoir-Rhyne for many years. He has served in leadership roles for the LR Board of Trustees for 18 years including board vice chair, Executive Committee, Promotion & Development Committee, Finance & Investment, and the Buildings & Grounds Committee. He was a founding member of the LR Business Council and has served on the Piedmont Educational Foundation, as well as a number of Lenoir-Rhyne fundraising campaigns.

In addition to his service to LR, he is one of the most effective civic leaders in the Catawba Valley. His leadership for the Piedmont Council BSA, Rotary, United Way, YMCA, Science Center, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and many others has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people in our community.

“George, like his parents before him, believes in giving back. He has seen the impact Lenoir-Rhyne has had on the Hickory area and continues to support our endeavors.  The Trustee Award is the highest service award granted by Lenoir-Rhyne, and I can think of no one who deserves it more that George Moretz,” commented Dr. Powell. “

Moretz retired as COB of Carolina Mills, Inc. in Maiden in 2008. He continues to serve as Chairman of the Board and Secretary of Carolina Mills. He is currently the president of the Moretz Family Foundation. Moretz graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelors of Science in Textile Management.

Honorary degrees are awarded to persons of outstanding character and personality who have a) distinguished themselves for scholarship or literary achievement, or b) won professional or other distinction, or c) rendered conspicuous service in some particular field. The Trustee Award is presented to persons of outstanding character and personality who have rendered noteworthy service to Lenoir-Rhyne University.

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