Press Releases

Summer 2011 Commencement to be Held September 11, 2011

For Immediate Release: September 8, 2011

Contact Sherry Mercurio, Director of Public Relations, 614.947.6581

Columbus, OH —

Franklin University, one of the leading educators of working adults, will hold its 138th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, September 11, 2011, during which more than 650 degree candidates will receive their diplomas at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

William J. Lhota will address the graduates.  Lhota was elected President and Chief Executive Officer of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in 2004. Following his retirement as a senior executive at American Electric Power (AEP) in 2001, he formed Lhota Services, a sole proprietor business focusing on arbitration, mediation, and energy consulting, as well as consulting, teaching, and lecturing on business and engineering ethics.

In his 37 years at AEP, Lhota was responsible for power transmission and distribution systems in 11 states, serving in numerous management positions at Ohio Power Company and Columbus Southern Power, both subsidiaries of AEP in addition to the AEP Service Corporation.

Throughout his career, Lhota has had extensive experience in public policy and labor relations and was instrumental in establishing cooperative relations between AEP and its labor unions. He also created and managed AEP’s original corporate compliance program and has extensive experience in ethics and corporate governance.

Franklin University
138th Commencement Ceremony

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011
2 pm
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
300 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215

Speaker: William J. Lhota
President and  CEO
Central Ohio Transit Authority

Honorary Degrees
William J. Lhota
Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership

Lhota is a registered professional engineer and surveyor and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Engineering Ethics (NIEE) at Texas Tech University and is a past chair and member of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Lhota is also past director and chair of the Audit Committee for Green Mountain Energy, a private company and the largest and fastest-growing provider of less-polluting electricity to residential and business customers in the United States. 


Lhota earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University in 1964 and earned a master’s degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978.

In addition to giving the keynote speech, Lhotawill also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership from Franklin University during the Ceremony.

Graduating MCM student Rebecca Mellinger will also address the graduates.  Receiving her M.S. in Marketing & Communication this Sunday, Mellinger works as a Data Coordinator for Verizon Wireless. Previous to this, she served as Program Coordinator and Interim Executive Director in the nonprofit field for VSA Arts of Ohio.

Rebecca is originally from Indiana and moved to Columbus in 2003 to earn her B.A. from Otterbein University in 2007.

About Franklin University
Founded in 1902, Franklin University is one of the leading and most experienced educators of adult students. The University offers applied, in-demand undergraduate, master's and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals.  From entrepreneurs to CEOs, more than 45,000 Franklin alumni can be found around the world contributing to the communities in which they live and work. Students can take classes through Franklin through its Main Campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, two central Ohio locations, in Beavercreek, at co-locations across Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and online. In addition, the University's MBA program is offered internationally through agreements with institutions in Europe and the Middle East. Further information regarding Franklin University can be found at

Franklin University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).


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