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Manchester University to honor Robinson, Ford at Commencement

Manchester University will confer honorary degrees to two recipients at Commencement this year on Saturday, May 22.

Wendy RobinsonWendy Robinson will be honored at the graduate and professional commencement exercises at 9 a.m. in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus.

Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) from 2003 until her retirement in 2020, is a champion of public education and nationally recognized for her expertise in urban education. In 2018, she was named Indiana Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

Robinson grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, two master’s degrees from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and her Doctor of Education in educational administration and supervision from Ball State University.

Robinson was a member of the inaugural class of Broad Center Fellows, a program designed to prepare and challenge urban school leaders. She has received numerous awards, including the National Alliance of Black School Educators 2009 Joseph E. Hill Superintendent of the Year Award.

She is the former president of the Indiana Urban Superintendent’s Association and Learning Forward, a professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development.

Robinson will receive a Doctor of Humanities and speak at graduation.

Steve FordSteve Ford will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. His comments will be featured during undergraduate and Master of Accountancy exercises at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Cordier.

A lifelong resident of Wabash, Ind., Ford graduated from Wabash High School before earning a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University. After graduate studies at the University of Illinois, he returned to his hometown to work in the family business, Ford Meter Box Company Inc.

As a leading manufacturer of products for the waterworks industry, the company helps deliver clean water critical to public health and economic development across North America and around the world.

Ford worked At Ford Meter Box in the summers during college, learning from and alongside the company’s longtime employees. He worked his way up and, through the years, developed experience in information technology, finance and accounting, sales, purchasing and engineering before becoming president and chief executive officer in 2006.

As the leader of Wabash’s largest employer, Ford embraces his responsibility as a servant leader. The Ford Meter Box Foundation Inc. is the company’s philanthropic arm, and it supports arts and culture, education, health, youth development and community development. Ford is passionate about the importance of education at every stage and served eight years on the Manchester University Board of Trustees.

Ford’s long list of involvements include the Honeywell Foundation Board, Community Foundation of Wabash County, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, the Wabash Area Chamber of Commerce, ARC of Wabash County and the Wabash County United Fund.

Because of COVID-19, attendance is limited to students and their guests. Each ceremony will be livestreamed on MU’s Facebook page, @ManchesterUniv.

For the media

Note: Manchester does not have traditional commencement speakers. The honorary degree recipients are among Commencement speakers, but their speeches are generally short. If you are able to make the distinction in listings, please refer to them as honorary degree recipients.

If you have questions about Commencement, please email Anne Gregory at, in media relations.

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