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Commencement speakers bringing experience

December 13, 2012

Ron Hull (Photo by Lori Carr Photography) Ron Hull (Photo by Lori Carr Photography)
George Griffith (Photo by Daniel Binkard) George Griffith (Photo by Daniel Binkard)

The two speakers for Chadron State College’s commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 14, bring experience to the podium. This is the second time at the CSC commencement podium for both speakers.

The speaker for the undergraduate ceremony is Dr. Ron Hull of Lincoln, a pioneer of public television who has been heavily involved in the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society since its inception. Dr. George Griffith, CSC professor of language and literature, will deliver the commencement address for the students receiving master’s degrees.

Hull was the speaker for the undergraduate ceremony in May 1975 and Griffith spoke to students receiving master’s degrees in December 1996.

Ron Hull, Ed.D.
Commencement Speaker and
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree Recipient

In addition to serving as the commencement speaker, Dr. Ron Hull is receiving the Chadron State College Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his outstanding service to CSC and greater society.

Hull, a television pioneer who has been heavily involved in the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society since its inception in 1971, was instrumental in the development of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center on the CSC campus. Hull is president emeritus of the organization, and continues to serve as a board member.

Hull is regarded as one of Nebraska’s most prominent television pioneers. He was a long-time program manager for the Nebraska ETV Network. His book, “Backstage – Stories of My Life in Public Television,” has received much acclaim since being published earlier this year. He continues to serve as senior adviser to Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and Professor Emeritus of Broadcasting for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

While serving as program manager for ETV from 1955-1982, Hull co-developed the “Anyone for Tennyson?” poetry series and a collection of dramas titled “The Mark Twain Series” for the Public Broadcasting Service.

He took a leave of absence in 1966-1967 to serve the United States Information Agency as a television adviser to the government of South Vietnam. He was instrumental in developing a four-station television network for the country, which he advised through 1972.

Hull also was director of the program fund for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting in 1982-1988, a period which the CPB developed the acclaimed “The American Experience” and made programming commitments of more than $170 million. Stations and independent producers churned out a number of classic PBS programs during that period, including “Eyes on the Prize,” “Vietnam: A Television History,” and “Great Performances.”

The honorary degree will complement a long list of honors that Hull has received throughout his career. Recent commendations include the Pioneer Award from the NEBRASKAland Foundation in 2009. Other honors during the 2000s included induction to the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Sower Award by the Nebraska Humanities Council.

Hull earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, which was preceded by a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from Dakota Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in television from Syracuse University. Dakota Wesleyan and UNL have each presented him with awards that recognize outstanding alumni.

George Griffith, Ph.D.
Professor of Language and Literature
Commencement Speaker

Dr. George Griffith has become one of Chadron State College’s most revered professors during nearly four decades at the institution. He is in his 37thyear as a professor of language and literature at CSC.

Griffith, who joined CSC as an assistant professor in August 1975, has been employed at the institution longer than any other faculty member. He attained the rank of full professor in 1985 and served as chairman of the CSC Department of English and Humanities from 1991-1994.

Griffith has developed a reputation for challenging students while teaching courses in English literature, composition and ethics. He directed the honors program at CSC from 1988-2001, has led three study tours to Europe and was among the first CSC professors to embrace online learning at CSC. In 2002, five years after his ethics course went online, he was presented an award for innovative excellence at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning.

Griffith also is the 1991 winner of the prestigious Burlington Northern Outstanding Teaching Award, and was named CSC’s outstanding educator in 1989.

The professor also has completed post-doctoral work at Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and three University of California institutions – Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Cruz. Those experiences include institutes and seminars for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He lists about 40 scholarly articles, presentations and research projects, many of them related to Victorian studies and George Eliot. He serves as a board member for the Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States, and is working on a book titled “George Eliot and America.” He also has narrated a series of “This Day in Literature” podcasts that are available on the CSC English and Humanities website.

Griffith is a native of the East Coast. Before coming to Chadron State, which has been his only full-time academic employer, he earned a bachelor’s degree from LaSalle College at Philadelphia in 1969 and a master’s and doctorate from Southern Illinois University in 1971 and 1975, respectively. He completed the examinations for his doctorate “with distinction.”

—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services

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