Commencement Speaker

Spring 2018 Commencement Speaker

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker -President John Anderson

President John Anderson

In November 2012, Dr. John M. Anderson was chosen as the 14th president of Millersville University. Prior to his appointment at Millersville, Anderson was named the 11th president of Alfred State College, Alfred, New York, in March 2008. Between 2004 and 2008, he served as executive vice president and provost at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York.

In addition, Anderson has an established and recognized career as a professor and academic leader including as faculty senate chair and convener of the State University of New York – SUNY – governance leaders. His career is supplemented by more than 20 years in a variety of senior-level administrative posts including president, executive vice president, provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, vice president of Institutional Advancement, interim vice president of Student Services and dean of Student Development at a variety of institutions.

Community involvement has been an important part of Anderson’s life, serving on a variety of boards in many communities. One of his most rewarding experiences has been serving for the past 12 years as a board member, and at times an officer, of Springbrook, Inc. located near Cooperstown, New York. Springbrook is a not-for-profit organization with approximately 1,200 employees that supports children and adults with developmental disabilities. In the Lancaster community, Anderson serves as a trustee on the board of Lancaster General Health. Anderson also serves on the Lancaster Partnership Program Committee, a partnership between Millersville University and the School District of Lancaster offering socioeconomically disadvantaged students the incentive to finish high school and a unique opportunity to obtain a college education; and Lancaster STEM Advisory Council, an organization that promotes K-12 STEM curricula across the region. Previously, he served on the Lancaster SCORE Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County.

Early in his career, Anderson’s research interests were in the field of Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) spectroscopy and Neutron Activation analysis. As a higher educational leader, his areas of expertise have more recently evolved to include, strategic planning, student civic engagement and sustainability. He served as president of Pennsylvania Campus Compact and is an inaugural member of MomentUS Higher Education Leadership Circle, a strategic organizing and communications initiative to build public support for climate change solutions among mainstream Americans. Anderson lobbied to form, and chaired, the Sustainable Development Committee of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Previously, Anderson chaired the AASCU Economic Development Committee; served on the Steering, Executive and Adaptation Committees for the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC); the Corporate Council of the ACUPCC, chaired the Strategic Planning Committee for the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference, and served on the Executive Committee for the New York Campus Compact. On the state level, Anderson served on the governors Tuition Account Programs Advisory Board.

Anderson has a Ph.D. in education from Cornell University, an M.A. in physics from SUNY Geneseo, a B.A. in physics from SUNY Brockport, and an A.S. in math and science from Westchester Community College. He also received post-graduate education at Harvard University.


Dr. Rita Smith Wade-El

Professor of Psychology and Director of the African-American Studies Minor

Dr. Rita Smith Wade-El is a professor in the Psychology Department, the director of the African-American Studies minor and the director of the Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative at Millersville University.

Her areas of specialization include learning, development, racism, diversity and African Americans. Smith Wade-El’s courses include General Psychology, Psychology of Racism, Psychology of Religion, Psychology of African Americans, Human Relations, the Black Women and Human Growth and Development. Her additional responsibilities include tutor coordinator, advisor for secondary education social studies majors with psychology option, co-op coordinator, certification evaluator, pre-law advisory committee, undecided advisor and colloquium coordinator.

Before coming to Millersville, Smith Wade-El was a tenured faculty member of psychology in the Department of Pan-African Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. She also taught in women studies. Smith Wade-El has held teaching positions at East Stroudsburg State University, St. Joseph's University and University of Pennsylvania. Smith-Wade-El is a consultant in the areas of Black Family, Male-Female Relationships, the Black Child, Development and Parenting, Racism, Race Heredity and IQ, the Black Woman, Black Psychology, Leadership, Stress Management, Group Developments and other topics for various private, city and state institutions. She has been involved with approximately 30 different organizations and has received numerous honors including recognition at the 50th Black Student Association/Black Student Union Anniversary Celebration in March.

Smith Wade-El has published in the areas of Learned Helplessness, Race as a Self = Schema, African American History, Multicultural Education and Black Male-Female Relationships.

She has received grants from the Legislative Office of Research Liaison, Division of Adult Education, Department of Education, Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the State System of Higher Education.

Smith Wade-El is a native of Washington, D.C. She is the mother of two sons.