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Commencement 2014

As Fontbonne University graduates ended one journey and began another, Dr. Dennis Golden, president of the university for 19 years, did the same. Golden, who became president in 1995, served as the university’s 2014 commencement speaker on Saturday, May 17, just over a month before his official retirement.

Two commencement ceremonies — the first for master’s candidates at 10 a.m. and the second for bachelor’s candidates at 2 p.m.— took place Saturday, May 17, in the Dunham Student Activities Center on Fontbonne’s Clayton campus. More than 530 total students graduated from Fontbonne in May 2014, and around 380 students recieved their diplomas at this year’s ceremonies. Dustin Graves served as the undergraduate commencement student speaker, and Monica Kleekamp served as the graduate commencement student speaker. After each ceremony, graduates were be invited to ring the chapel bell to signify the end of their student journey, a tradition at Fontbonne.

In 2012, Golden announced his plans to retire, initiating a yearlong search for his replacement. Throughout his time at Fontbonne, Golden has overseen the successful completion of two capital campaigns; the investment of $32 million in capital improvements; the establishment of unique academic and community-enriching programs like the annual Dedicated Semester; two successful Higher Learning Commission accreditations; and a growth in enrollment and academic programs for undergraduates, graduates and working adults, among many other accomplishments. (See a timeline of his tenure.) Prior to his time at Fontbonne, Golden served in positions at the College of the Holy Cross, Framingham State University, Duquesne University and the University of Louisville.

“I received a call to come to Fontbonne,” Golden said. “It has been a labor of love. They say that home is where the heart is, and my heart is in St. Louis.”

Golden’s successor, J. Michael Pressimone, will officially become president of Fontbonne effective July 1, 2014. An inauguration ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.