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2010 5
Best-selling author
Rita Mae Brown
doled out advice and quite a
bit of humor during her stint as William Woods University’s
undergraduate commencement speaker May 8.
Graduate students heard from
Dan Westhues
, a WWU graduate
and senior vice president, consumer banking, for Central Bank
in Jefferson City.
Brown also was WWU’s commencement speaker in 2000, and
her latest mystery, “Cat of the Century,” takes place on the
WWU campus.
She told graduates to “never hope more than you work,” “always
do the right thing” and “give other people credit.” A self-proclaimed
animal lover, Brown advised that “best friends come on four
feet … (but) what makes us human is our ability to compromise.”
After dishing out nine of her 10 “points to remember,” she
cautioned, “When all else fails, wear glasses—it makes you look
smarter.” Then she added an 11th point, “Don’t expect life to make
sense; if life made sense, men would ride sidesaddle.”
A total of 577 students received diplomas. With another ceremony
in December, the combined number of WWU graduates since last
May is 1,012.
Because of the large numbers, WWU held two commencement
ceremonies May 8 in Cutlip Auditorium—one for undergraduates
in the morning and one for graduate students in the afternoon.
Prior to the undergraduate commencement, William Woods held
its traditional Ivy Ceremony around Senior Lake.
In addition to being a best-selling author, the morning’s speaker,
Rita Mae Brown, is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and poet.
She has also written an autobiography, a cookbook and a
writer's manual.
Author of the groundbreaking best-seller “Rubyfruit Jungle” in
1973, Brown has written nearly 40 books since then, including
several mysteries “co-authored” with her cat, Sneaky
Pie Brown.
After earning a cinematography degree from the School of
Visual Arts and a B.A. in English and classics from New York
University, Brown received a Ph.D. in English and political
science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
In his position as senior vice president, consumer banking, for
Central Bank, the afternoon speaker, Dan Westhues, oversees
135 employees, 11 banking centers, marketing, corporate
training, retirement planning, business development and a
travel agency.
A 1993 Westminster College graduate, Westhues earned his
master of business administration (MBA) at William Woods in
1997. He also graduated with honors from the Stonier Graduate
School of Banking at Georgetown University in 2006.
A devoted supporter of William Woods, Westhues joined the
WWU Board of Trustees in 2008. He is a member of the
executive committee and the current treasurer. He is also
a member of the President’s Club Giving Society.
Best -sel l ing Author Addresses WWU Graduates
By Mary Ann Beahon
“if life made sense, men would ride sidesaddle”