Memorial Day weekend will mark a milestone for some students at Wartburg College in Waverly.

The school will recognize 325 graduates from the Class of 2018 during its 166th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27. The graduates include 27 international students from 17 countries. Wartburg also will award its first Bachelor of Science degree for students in engineering science.

Commencement will be held in Hoover Fieldhouse & Track, located inside the Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center (The "W"), beginning at 1:30 PM. The ceremony is free and open to the community.

According to a press release, world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes will be presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. He joined the Wartburg faculty as distinguished professor and artist-in-residence in 2002. During his 14-year tenure, Estes performed with Wartburg music ensembles and worked with students in master classes and private voice lessons.

In addition to education and music pursuits, Estes has raised scholarship funds through his two foundations and partners with the United Nations Foundation to raise funds to eliminate malaria in Africa, an effort that earned him the United Nations Lifetime Impact Award.

Wartburg President Darrel Colson will give the charge to the class. The student speaker will be Peter Brennan, a biology major from Indianola. The Regents Scholar is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Tri-Beta and Alpha Chi honor societies and won the college’s coveted Nobility Award, an honor for meaningful and significant contributions to the college and community through vision, action and diligence.

Douglas Cole, an English teacher and forensics coach at Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, Colo., and Paul Mugan, a biology teacher at Waverly-Shell Rock High School, will be honored as outstanding high school teachers. Members of the Class of 2018 nominated them for significantly influencing their education.

The academic procession, led by faculty marshals Todd Reiher, professor of psychology, and Ann Henninger, professor emeritus of biology, will begin the Commencement ceremony.

International students bearing the flags of their countries, emeriti faculty, current faculty members, members of the Class of 1968, the graduating class and platform party will join the procession.

Commencement weekend events that are free and open to the public include:

  • Senior Art Exhibit: Daily from 9 AM-7 PM -- Waldemar A. Schmidt Art Gallery, Bachman Fine Arts Center
  • May Term Band Concert: Saturday, May 26 at 6:30 PM -- Campus Mall (rain location McCaskey Lyceum)
  • Baccalaureate: Sunday, May 27 at 10 AM -- Neumann Auditorium. The Rev. Ramona Bouzard, dean of the chapel, will deliver the message
  • Pre-Commencement Concert featuring May Term Band: Sunday, May 27 at 1 PM -- Hoover Fieldhouse & Track, Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center (The "W")