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Honorary Doctorates to be Presented at Commencement

May 4, 2012

KUTZTOWN, PA - Kutztown University officials will award honorary doctorates to two esteemed alumni - Lieutenant General Richard C. Zilmer '74, USMC (Ret.), and Eric D. Schaeffer '84 at spring 2012 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12, in the Michael O'Pake Fieldhouse.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony for both the undergraduate and graduate classes of the Colleges of Education and Business, Reading, Pa.-native Lieutenant General Richard C. Zilmer '74, USMC (Ret.) will receive a Doctor of Public Service, doctor beneficiorum publicorum, honoris causa, for his more than 35 years of meritorious service with the United States Marine Corps.

At the 2 p.m. ceremony for both the undergraduate and graduate classes of the Colleges of Visual & Performing Arts and Liberal Arts & Sciences, Arlington, Va.-based Eric D. Schaeffer '84 will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, litterarum humaniorum doctor, honoris causa, for his contributions to the arts, theater and performance. Schaeffer's Broadway production of Follies was nominated for eight Tony Awards earlier this week.

Rick ZilmerLieutenant General Richard Zilmer retired from active duty in January 2011 following more than 36 years of commissioned service. During his military career, Zilmer served in a variety of operational and staff assignments throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. His operational commands consisted of Commanding Officer First Battalion, First Marines, Commanding Officer 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Commanding General Multinational Forces -West (Anbar Province, Iraq) and Commanding General III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan. Zilmer served combat tours during Lebanon Peacekeeping Operations, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Zilmer's staff assignments included multiple Washington, DC tours at Headquarters Marine Corps, Deputy J-3 for Operations at the United States European Command, Presidential Support duties at Camp David, Maryland and Senior U.S. Marine Representative to the Royal Marines in Poole England. His final assignment was Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps.

A native of Reading, Pa., Zilmer presently resides with his wife Lorie and youngest son in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Lieutenant General Zilmer graduated with a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Kutztown University in 1974 and holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Warfare. He has also studied at the Pennsylvania State University Executive Programs and the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina.

Among a variety of professional and volunteer activities, Zilmer presently sits on the Board of Directors for The Hershey Trust Company, Board of Managers for the Milton Hershey School and the CNA Military Advisory Board.

Eric SchaefferEric D. Schaeffer is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. The theatre received the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and is home to the American Musical Voices Project - the largest musical commission program in America. At Signature Theatre, Schaeffer has directed more than 60 productions and led the theatre to 77 Helen Hayes Awards along with 305 nominations for excellence in the past 20+ years. He was named Washingtonian of the Year in 2002. Follies was nominated yesterday, May 1, for eight Tony Awards.

Mr. Schaeffer has directed Follies, Million Dollar Quartet and Putting it Together on Broadway. He has also directed on the West End in London with Million Dollar Quartet and the Witches of Eastwick. He directed the national tours of Big, Barbie and Million Dollar Quartet. At The Kennedy Center, he served as artistic director of the Sondheim Celebration where he also directed Sunday in the Park with George and Passion along with Mame and Follies. He has directed productions at the Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Ford's Theatre and Arena Stage among others.

Mr. Schaeffer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kutztown University along with extended studies, Crewe and Alsager College of Visual Arts, Crewe, England. He has received six Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Direction, seven Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Musical, 27 Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Director and the Washington Arts Founder Award.

He is currently directing Follies at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, First your Dream for The Kennedy Center in June 2012 and a new production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for Signature Theatre in the fall.

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