Huron, Ohio – On Saturday, May 7, Bowling Green State University Firelands College will conduct the 31st Commencement Ceremonies featuring keynote speaker Craig Rathbun.  BGSU Firelands will recognize 259 students who earned degrees at the campus during the 2015-2016 academic year.

“This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and sacrifice for our students who will be graduating this evening, and we are proud that they have achieved their goals,” said BGSU Firelands Dean Andy Kurtz.

The graduating class includes 212 associate degree candidates and 47 bachelor’s degree candidates.  Degree candidates range in age from 16 to 61 and they represent many area of Ohio.  Seventy-one candidates graduated with academic honors, including five students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Rathbun, a BGSU graduate and local entrepreneur, will address the students as they prepare to graduate.

“We are delighted to have Mr. Rathbun as the commencement speaker.  He is an outstanding role model for the graduates and an excellent example of the level of success which can be achieved with an education from BGSU,” said Kurtz.

Rathbun earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BGSU in 1983. After graduating, he was employed by Ernst & Whinney’s (Ernst & Young) Management Consulting Group, specializing in production and operations. He later joined his family’s business, Venture Packaging, as operations manager.

The lessons learned at a closely-held corporation served as a sound basis for two other future companies. In 1999, as a partner in Encore Plastics, Rathbun, along with his siblings and a friend, grew a start-up company from seven employees to more than 300 within three manufacturing facilities. Encore manufactures paint sundry products for national retailers such as Lowe’s, Menards, Sherwin-Williams, and Walmart.

In 2009, the partners financed a renewable energy company called SUREnergy. The goal was to find alternative ways to reduce Encore Plastics’ carbon footprint. Today, SUREnergy has evolved into providing grant writing, sourcing, installation, maintenance, and consulting services to several national and international companies.

Rathbun is currently a member of the BGSU Firelands Alumni Advisory Board and in 2016 received a College Alumni Award from BGSU.

Rathbun is part of a family with proud Falcon ties.  His father, Willard, and two siblings, Tim and Jodi, all attended BGSU.  His wife and two of his children also attended BGSU.

BGSU Firelands’ 31st Commencement Ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, in the Cedar Point Center on the Huron campus.  Tickets are required for attendance.

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