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Defiance College Welcomes Polar Explorer John Huston as Commencement Speaker

April 23, 2014


DEFIANCE, Ohio – Two hundred and sixteen graduates will be awarded diplomas during Defiance College’s 2014 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 4. The ceremony will begin at 12 noon on the Colonnade Green in front of Pilgrim Library.

Highest-ranking seniors of the graduating class of 2014 are Catherine Savage and Alexis Pierce, Wauseon; Abhinav Mehta, Amanda Westrick, and Kathryn Weber, Defiance; Christina Seidenstricker, London; and David Savage, Warren.

Guest speaker for commencement will be polar explorer John Huston.

A life-long educator with a passion for challenge and inspiring others, Huston believes in the positive potential in every individual and every team. He started his career at Outward Bound in northern Minnesota, an expedition school that facilitates character development and self-discovery through active learning expeditions.

In the spring of 2005, Huston was selected as the only American to join a team of Norwegians re-staging a 1911 expedition to the South Pole for a History Channel and BBC documentary. The expedition team skied and dogsledded 1,400 miles over 72 days on the Greenland icecap, using only 1911 period clothing, equipment and food.

Since then, Huston has led a full-length ski expedition to the South Pole, worked as a guide in polar basecamps and regularly consults with polar expeditions. He also advises and serves as a safety auditor for educational outdoor programs. Most recently, Huston traversed 630 miles on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic for a film project.

Preceding commencement will be a 10:30 a.m. baccalaureate service in the Weaner Community Center during which Margaret Mills will deliver the sermon.

DC alumna Margaret Mills served as Director of Christian Education at Old South United Church of Christ in Kirtland, Ohio, until 1977. She then began her ministry at the Western Reserve Association of the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ as Christian Education Associate. From 2004 until February 2014 she served as the Associate Association Minister for the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations. Mills also served local churches in the Western Reserve Association in Christian Education and Youth Ministry. At the 2001 General Synod of the UCC, she received the Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2009 she received the Robert Johnston Award at the Great Lakes Association of United Church Educators annual gathering. In 2010 Margaret received the Schauffler Legacy Award from Defiance College.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is