Michigan Tech 2009 Spring Commencement May 2

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Lt. Col. Otha Thornton, a presidential communications officer, is the featured speaker at Michigan Technological University’s Spring Commencement, set for Saturday, May 2.

The University will honor the accomplishments of 785 students receiving undergraduate degrees, 81 master’s degree candidates and 31 PhD recipients.

Thornton, who earned an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Tech in 2001, will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. He the former director of White House Communications. He was stationed at Michigan Tech from 1999 to 2002 as a recruiter, public affairs office and assistant professor of military science in the Army ROTC program.

This summer, he leaves his post in Washington, DC for Iraq to become the chief of personnel plans and operations.

Among his honors, Thornton received Michigan Tech’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award and served on the board of directors of the National PTA.

Also at commencement, Dawn (Zarling) Plitzuweit will receive an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. She is now associate head coach for the University of Michigan women’s basketball team. As head coach at Grand Valley State University, Plitzuweit and her team won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2005-06.

A 1995 graduate of Michigan Tech, she was named 1995 NCAA Woman of the Year in Michigan, the same year she was invited to speak at her own commencement.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.