The Oglethorpe University 2012 Commencement ceremony was held on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 9:00 a.m., on the academic quadrangle of the OU campus. .
President Larry Schall presided over the ceremony honoring more than 250 graduating seniors. During the ceremony, Oglethorpe presented three honorary degrees to:
— Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson, an accomplished pianist, Holocaust survivor, and former faculty at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters.
— Sue Adcock Frueauff, a foundation and community leader, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
— Ted Turner, a renowned leader in business and philanthropy, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Each honorary degree recipient addressed the Class of 2012. Past recipients of honorary degrees include President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, and Amelia Earhart.
Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson is a Ukrainian-American pianist and former faculty member of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dawson came to national prominence in 2009 after her son, journalist Greg Dawson, published the book Hiding in the Spotlight chronicling his mother’s escape from the Holocaust. A young prodigy, Dawson began piano lessons at age five and made her performance debut at age 6 on the radio. She later received scholarships to attend the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1941, she was forced to flee the persecution of Jews in her hometown. She escaped only to find herself forced to survive by playing her music for Nazi soldiers from the army that had killed their parents. Dawson was eventually adopted and brought to the United States, where she studied music at the Juilliard School of Music.
Sue Adcock Frueauff has served as a trustee at the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation in Little Rock, Ark. for 22 years. From 1996-2001 she also worked as a program officer at the foundation, and since 2001 has served as chief administration officer. Prior to the foundation, Frueauff worked for 16 years as an elementary school principal in Russellville, Arkansas, and 13 years as a classroom teacher in the Arkansas Public Schools. Frueauff has served on numerous boards and in leadership positions at the Arkansas Tech University Foundation, University of the Ozarks, American Association of University Women (Branch and State President), Arkansas Curriculum Development Association, Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect, Centers for Youth & Families, and many more. She is an active volunteer and leader in her community, having given her time and talents to Arkansas Rice Depot, Stewpot, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Arkansas Literacy Council, Child Protection Team, and numerous others. Frueauff earned her Master of Science in Education at the University of Central Arkansas and her bachelor’s at Arkansas Technical University.
Throughout his career, Ted Turner has received recognition for his entrepreneurial acumen, sharp business skills, leadership qualities, and his unprecedented philanthropy. Whether in billboard advertisement, cable television, sports team ownership, sailing, environmental initiatives or philanthropy, Turner’s vision, determination, generosity and forthrightness have consistently given the world reason to take notice. Turner is chairman of the United Nations Foundation, which promotes a more peaceful, prosperous and just world; co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; chairman of the Turner Foundation, which supports efforts for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect the earth’s climate, safeguarding environmental health, maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population growth rates; and co-founder of Ted’s Montana Grill restaurant chain, which operates 44 locations nationwide. Turner is also chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc., which manages his business interests, land holdings and investments, including the oversight of two million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, and more than 55,000 bison.