Habeckers will be Taylor Commencement Speakers

By Jim Garringer, Director of Media Relations Published: May 16, 2016

Outgoing Taylor University President and First Lady Eugene and Marylou Habecker will serve as the featured speakers for Taylor University’s Commencement exercises this Saturday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m., in the Kesler Student Activities Center (KSAC).

You can watch a live feed of Commencement and learn more about seating, parking, and other directions by visiting the Taylor Commencement website.

Habecker, a 1968 Taylor alumnus, has served as Taylor’s President since 2005, and will conclude his presidency on May 31. He holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Ball State University and the University of Michigan. He also earned a Juris Doctor from Temple University and is a member (inactive) of the Pennsylvania Bar. Habecker also completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University and is the recipient of honorary degrees from numerous colleges and universities.

Highlights of Habecker’s administration include:

  • raising $160 million for endowment and capital projects
  • construction of major campus facilities which include the Memorial Prayer Chapel, Euler Science Complex, and the LaRita Boren Campus Center
  • construction of the Campbell and Wolgemuth student apartment complexes and Breuninger residence hall
  • construction of athletic and physical education facilities including the Eichling Aquatics Wing of the Kesler Student Activities Center, a new combined football and soccer stadium and lighted practice facility
  • establishment of the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement, Center for Scripture Engagement, Bedi Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Center for the Study of CS Lewis and Friends, and Center for Missions Computing
  • establishment of international centers in Greystones, Ireland, and Cuenca, Ecuador
  • establishment of articulation agreements with Hongdong University, Korea; Verbo Church in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • nine straight number one regional rankings for Taylor by U.S. News and World Report

Prior to coming to Taylor in 2005, Habecker served presidencies at the American Bible Society (1991-2005) and Huntington University (1981-1991). He also served in administrative positions at Huntington, George Fox University (Newberg, Ore.), and Eastern University (St. Davids, Pa.).

Marylou Habecker is also a 1968 Taylor graduate and holds a Master’s degree from Ball State University. She is a speaker, writer, and artist. She has also served on the boards of the Women’s Bible Society of New York City, Nyack College, Taylor University, the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA-NYC), and Overseas Council.

The Habeckers have collectively traveled to more than 90 countries throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. 

The Habeckers announced last summer that the 2015-2016 academic year would be their last as Taylor’s Presidential couple. Indianapolis lawyer, Taylor alumnus and Board of Trustees member Lowell Haines and his wife Sherry were introduced to the campus community in January as Taylor’s next President and First Lady, effective June 1.

Taylor University’s 2016 graduating class is comprised of 482 students:  

  • 263 women, 219 men
  • 23 Master of Arts degrees in Higher Education and Student Development and MBA degrees
  • 242 Bachelor of Arts degrees
  • 213 Bachelor of Science degrees
  • 5 Bachelor of Music degrees
  • 1 Bachelor of Business Administration degrees
  • 2 Associate of Arts degrees
  • 4 students are completing the requirements for two Bachelor degrees
  • 37 Bachelor degree recipients are completing the requirements for at least two majors

The Class of 2016 comes from 33 states in the United States and 21 foreign countries that include: Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand.

A total of 280 Baccalaureate degree recipients have earned graduation honors that include:  

  • 73 Summa Cum Laude honors
  • 115 Magna Cum Laude honors
  • 92 Cum Laude honors
  • 12 undergraduates expected to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average

The graduates of the class of 2016 will join 23,265 previous graduates of Taylor University.