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BC Announces 2012 Baccalaureate, Commencement Speakers


Dr. Robert Neff, president emeritus of Juniata College, will deliver the message at Bridgewater College's baccalaureate service on May 11, and Dr. Darla K. Deardorff, a Bridgewater alumna who is executive director of the Association of International Education Administrators, will deliver the commencement address May 12.

The baccalaureate service will be held at 6 p.m. in Nininger Hall. The commencement exercises will take place on the campus mall at 10 a.m., with four satellite locations in the event of inclement weather: Cole Hall, the Kline Campus Center dining hall, the Boitnott Room in Rebecca Hall and Bowman 101.

About Dr. Robert Neff

Dr. Robert Neff is the associate for resource development at The Village at Morrisons Cove in Martinsburg, Pa. He is president emeritus at Juniata College, remains a consultant in fund raising and board development and serves as a consultant and writer for the new ecumenical “Gather Round” curriculum.  Dr. Neff is a deacon in the Church of the Brethren and a Bible teacher in various congregations and the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, where he served as Board Chair from 2001 – 2007.

From 1986 to 1998, Dr. Neff was president of Juniata College. During that time he chaired the Huntingdon County United Way Campaign in 1990 and served on its governing board. He was a member of the Huntingdon County Board of Business and Industry and was instrumental in forming the Westminster Woods Retirement Community and in bringing the DuBois Business College to Huntingdon County. He was a member of the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Foundation for Independent Colleges and Universities and an officer of the national board of the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities. He served on Mellon Bank (Central) National Association board of directors. Upon his retirement he was a visiting professor at The Pennsylvania State University until 2003 and was an adjunct professor in Old Testament at Bethany Theological Seminary until 2009.

Dr. Neff was general secretary of the Church of the Brethren from 1977 to 1986 and was active in ecumenical life. He was executive for the Committee on Interchurch Relations for the Church of the Brethren and served on the governing board and executive committee of the National Council of Churches (second vice president, 1985 – 86). He chaired the Presidential Panel, which redesigned the organization and resourcing of the Council (1982-84), was delegate to the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of Churches and served as a member of the Central Committee from 1984-91.

Dr. Neff taught at Bethany Theological Seminary as professor of Old Testament from 1965 to 1977 and was chair of the Old Testament faculty of the Southside Cluster of Theological Schools in Chicago (1973-77).

He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and was appointed a Danforth Fellow in 1958.

Dr. Neff graduated with a bachelor's degree from Penn State and with a B.D., M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He was appointed by Yale as a Two Brothers Fellow in 1962 for study in Germany and Israel. In 1973 he was granted a leave to study at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. He taught at the College of Northern Nigeria and Garrett Theological Seminary.

Dr. Neff has received honorary degrees from Juniata College, Bridgewater College, Manchester College and Mount Aloysius College. He has published in Biblical Research; Journal of Ecumenical Studies; Journal of the Society of Old Testament; Brethren Life and Thought; and Messenger. He has authored Voices in the Book of Job and co-authored Using Biblical Simulations I and II, Country Seer and City Prophet, The Festal Scrolls and The Chronicler.  In 2010 he was honored with a Festschrift entitled The Hebrew Bible is the Foundation of the New Testament Church.

He married Dorothy Rosewarne in 1959; they have two children, Scott and Heather.

About Dr. Darla K. Deardorff

Dr. Darla K. Deardorff, Bridgewater class of 1992, is currently executive director of the Association of International Education Administrators, a national professional organization based at Duke University, where she is a research scholar in the Program in Education. She is also visiting professor at Leeds-Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is on the faculty of the prestigious Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication in Portland, Oregon.

After graduating from Bridgewater, Dr. Deardorff earned her master's and doctoral degrees from North Carolina State University where she focused on international education. Her dissertation, which focused on the definition and assessment of intercultural competence, has gained national and international attention, and her intercultural competence models developed through her research are being used worldwide by such organizations as the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany, Cariplo Foundation in Italy, Sodexo, and NVAO in Europe.

Dr. Deardorff has worked in international education for more than 15 years and previously held positions at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, where she has had experience in study abroad, international student services, cultural programming, and ESL teaching/teacher training. She is also an ESL instructor and teacher trainer with more than 12 years of experience and has lived, taught and worked in Germany, Japan and Switzerland.

An educator for Duke Corporate Education, Dr. Deardorff is an experienced cross-cultural trainer and coach and conducts training for non-profits, corporations and educational institutions. She is a consultant for numerous universities and organizations around the world on topics related to intercultural competence development and assessment, global leadership, teacher education and internationalization. One of her recent consultant projects was for UNESCO on comparative perspectives on intercultural competence that resulted in an invitation to speak at the first United Nations World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, as well as at a UN-related event in Doha, Qatar. She is founder of ICC Global, a global network of researchers on intercultural competence.

Dr. Deardorff receives numerous invitations from around the world to speak on her research on intercultural competence and assessment (including in Europe, Latin America, Australia and Asia) and is a noted expert on these topics.

She has published widely on topics in international education and intercultural learning/assessment and is editor of The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence (Sage, 2009) as well as co-editor of The SAGE Handbook of International Education (Sage, forthcoming), Building Cultural Competence (Stylus, forthcoming) and author of Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg: Improving English and Understanding US American Cultural Patterns (University of Michigan Press, 2011).

Media Contacts

Charles Culbertson
Director of Media Relations and
Editor of Bridgewater Magazine
Office: 540-828-5720
Mobile: 540-255-1831

Mary Kay Heatwole
Media Relations Assistant
Office: 540-828-5486

Abbie Parkhurst
Executive Director of Marketing & Communications/College Spokeswoman
Office: 540-828-5782
Mobile: 540-294-1441