Franklin University, one of the leading educators of working adults, will hold its 151st Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 at 2 p.m., during which more than 650 degree candidates will receive their diplomas. This commencement ceremony will take place at The Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St. in downtown Columbus.
Commencement has always been a time of celebration. For Franklin University, the event marks a tremendous sense of achievement for students who completed their degrees often while juggling work, families and more. The University is proud to honor the achievements of this newest class of graduates and invites the community to join in the celebration.
President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Rita Soronen will make the keynote address. For more than 30 years, Rita has worked on behalf of abused, neglected and vulnerable children, providing leadership for local, state and national efforts to improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, while striving to assure safe and permanent homes for children.
Leading the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, since 2001, and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada since 2004, Soronen works to find adoptive families for each of the more than 134,000 waiting children in the United States’ and Canada’s foster care systems. Under Soronen’s leadership, the foundation has significantly increased its grant-making and awareness commitments, while developing strategic signature initiatives that act on the urgency of the issue. In 2014, the foundation dedicated more than $14 million to grants and national awareness activities, including Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, National Adoption Day and Finding Forever Families: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adoption.
Prior to joining the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Soronen served as the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Franklin County, a partner in the national network of more than 900 CASA programs. Soronen currently serves on the Public Education Committee of the National CASA Association, is a past vice president of the board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and a current member of the advisory board. A graduate of the University of Louisville with graduate work completed at The Ohio State University, she is a fellow of the Jefferson Fellowship for Executive Leadership and is a requested national speaker on the topics of children, the child welfare system and social innovation.
Also addressing the graduates will be Sukanya Sankarkumar, graduating student speaker receiving her M.S. in Computer Science.
Sukanya Sankarkumar has worked in the information technology industry for nearly 10 years as a business analyst and a program manager. Over the course of the past year, she has served as a graduate assistant at Franklin University while also completing her studies in the M.S. Computer Science program.
Sankarkumar earned her bachelor’s degree in information technology and an MBA in India, where she was born and raised. Her passion for computer science and technology led her to Franklin. Sankarkumar credits Franklin with providing a wide variety of invaluable experiences that have taught her to adapt, learn and advance in her career.
Sukanya lives in Columbus with her husband, whom she regards as the secret behind her success and the driving force that has kept her strong throughout the program.
Accredited, nonprofit and dedicated to educating adults since 1902, Franklin provides onsite course options at over 25 Midwest locations and is an innovator in providing personalized online education. The University offers applied in-demand undergraduate, master’s and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals. The University also offers several academic programs internationally, including its top-ranked MBA, through agreements with partner institutions.
Franklin University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and holds specialized accreditations for specific academic programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.