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Commencement 2012

Dr. Patricia Wolff – a Washington University in St. Louis professor, pediatrician and founder of Meds & Food for Kids – served as guest speaker at Fontbonne University’s May commencement. Wolff received an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony, held Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. in the Dunham Student Activity Center.

Wolff made her first trip to Haiti more than 20 years ago as a volunteer pediatrician. When she saw the extent of the malnutrition among the Haitian children, she wanted to help, but her frustration only grew as more and more children needlessly died. She consulted a Washington University colleague and former Fontbonne commencement speaker, Dr. Mark Manary, who was developing a peanut butter-based recipe to abate similar problems in Malawi, Africa. Wolff brought Manary’s recipe to Haiti, and started to treat malnutrition. She established a nonprofit organization— Meds & Food for Kids — and opened a factory in Haiti to produce “Medika Mamba,” which means “Peanut Butter Medicine” in Haitian Creole.  Since 2003, Meds & Food for Kids has saved the lives of more than 30,000 children through malnutrition treatment and economic development programs.

“We are honored to have Dr. Patricia Wolff as our May 2012 commencement speaker,” said Dennis C. Golden, president of Fontbonne. “At Fontbonne, students, faculty, staff and friends strive to serve a world in need. It is an integral part of our mission and campus culture, and a concept to which Dr. Wolff has dedicated her life. Her message will inspire our students to continue serving their community long after graduation.”

Monica Kleekamp, of Washington, Mo., served as the commencement student speaker. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and deaf education. Additionally, the Fontbonne Alumni Association recognized Joseph Kang, of Chesterfield, Mo., with the Alumni Hood Award, given at each commencement ceremony to an outstanding graduating student who has the potential to be an outstanding member of the alumni association. Kang graduated with a bachelor’s in biology.