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Release date: May 10

Nadler to speak at May commencement ceremony

Dr. Sylvia Nadler, a 1971 graduate of Wayland Baptist University, will serve as commencement speaker for the ceremony scheduled for May 18 at 2 p.m. in Harral Auditorium. About 150 students will be receiving diplomas during the event.

Dr. Sylvia Nadler Nadler is chair of the physical education department at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. She also serves on the athletics management team as the gender equity compliance officer and is director of the Leadership Studies Program.

After graduating from Wayland, Nadler joined the Wayland physical education faculty. She earned a master's degree from West Texas State University in 1974 and a doctorate from East Texas State University in 1980. She served as chair of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Division from 1978-90 and was Director of Athletics from 1983-90. During her tenure as athletic director, Wayland teams won seven NAIA national championships, the men's and women's teams won the NAIA-SIDA All-Sports Competition, and WBU athletes earned more than 350 All-American honors.

She served as president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association and was the NAIA National Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1987. She was also on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for three years.

Nadler joined the William Jewell faculty in 1990, chairing the physical education department. She was asked to direct the Leadership Studies Program, a program that has evolved from an eight-hour certificate program with 14 students to successful certificate and degree program involving about 150 students per year and boasting an endowment of $2.5 million. She is currently involved in a $25 million fundraising campaign to create endowed chairs for the leadership development program and to build a center to serve the campus and community. Nadler has spoken nationally and internationally about the leadership program, which features courses that require students to develop a "leadership legacy" project that gives back to the community. Students have raised money and built a Habitat for Humanity home, conducted a race to raise funds to free Sudanese slaves, held a weekend leadership conference for middle-school students, developed a learning resource center for disadvantaged children and raised $375,000 to build an outdoor Leadership Lab on campus.

In her free time, Nadler volunteers for Project Kaleidoscope, a national organization that builds and sustains reform in undergraduate science education. She has directed several leadership institutes for the organization over the years and has presented at several meetings.