From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


Take me to The Graduation Pledge Alliance web site!


Grads nationwide are taking

The Graduation Pledge of social,  environmental consciousness and action


Thousands of graduates from more than 100 colleges and universities across the nation are taking the Graduation Pledge and pinning a small green ribbon on their gowns at commencement. The ribbon may be small, but it speaks volumes about the character and conviction of those displaying it.

Seniors take the Graduation Pledge to declare that in their future jobs their concerns extend beyond how they personally benefit:

 “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”

The Graduation Pledge is coordinated nationwide by the Graduation Pledge Alliance, hosted at Manchester College under the direction of Professor Neil J. Wollman since 1996. (The Pledge began in 1987 at Humboldt State University in California.) Students take the Pledge at both small liberal arts colleges, such as Macalester, and in the Ivy League, such as University of Pennsylvania. And the Pledge has now spread abroad, as nearby as Canada and as far away as Australia.

Graduates who voluntarily sign the Pledge have turned down jobs that seemed outside their morally comfort zone and work to make changes in the workplace. On the job, they are starting recycling programs, working to remove racist language from training manuals, striving for gender parity in high school athletics, and convincing employers to refuse a chemical weapons-related contract.

Jamie M. Riedeman of Indianapolis took the Pledge and wore the ribbon when she received her bachelor’s degree in 1999 and her Master’s of Accountancy from Manchester College in 2000. “To be socially responsible, you need to take a step back to see what you have and not carry an attitude that you deserve things,” said Riedeman, controller for Associated General Contractors and accountant for non-profit organizations. “There are so many organizations and non-profits out there,” she said. “Someone needs to make sure they are spending those gifts wisely.”

Dana Nixon of St. Louis, Mo., took the Pledge when she received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Manchester in 1996. “I knew I was driven toward service,” she said. “Once your eyes are open to injustice, they can never be closed.” Her activism has included petitioning against the expansion of Indiana’s highway systems.

William Benysh, a biology-chemistry teacher for Wabash (Ind.) Community Schools, took the Pledge in1989. The Manchester College graduate says he is confident in its message. “I feel now the Graduation Pledge was a great statement of optimism and an acceptance of the responsibility of adulthood,” he said. “I took those words seriously. It's strange to think back on the impact that the Graduation Pledge and the mind-set that I had at the time has had on me. Social and environmental responsibility is a way of life I have chosen.”

 For more information about the Graduation Pledge Alliance, visit the web site at or contact Dr. Neil Wollman at 260-982-5346,

Manchester College offers more than 45 areas of study to 1,075 students from 29 states and 33 countries. As part of its complete liberal arts catalog, the residential college offers nationally acclaimed accounting, pre-med and peace studies programs and a master’s degree in accounting. For more information about Manchester College, visit the web site at


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