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HUNTINGTON - Greta Rensenbrink, an associate professor of history at Marshall University and recipient of the Reynolds Outstanding Teaching Award last spring, will be the featured speaker at MU's Winter Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 17, university officials announced.

Winter commencement will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in downtown Huntington.

Rensenbrink has been teaching at Marshall since 2006, when she was hired as an assistant professor in the history department. At Marshall, she was the founding director of Sexuality Studies from 2008 to 2010, and director of Women's Studies from 2010 to 2013.

Rensenbrink, who was born in Tanzania, earned her bachelors degree in United States history in May 1993 from the University of Massachusetts, her master's in history in August 1998 from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in history, also from the University of Chicago, in August 2003. She grew up Topsham, Maine.

Marshall began conducting a winter graduation ceremony in 2008 with a convocation at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. The speaker was Dr. Montserrat Miller, a professor of history. Winter commencement began in 2009 at Cam Henderson Center and the tradition of having a Marshall professor deliver the keynote address continued.

"I love the tradition of having faculty address the December ceremony, and I am very honored to take part," Rensenbrink said. "I think this tradition highlights the importance of community at Marshall, how we all, students, faculty and staff, work together to create what Marshall is and can be."

Rensenbrink said her talk will encourage students to broaden their definition of success as they move from the university into the wider world.

"The climate in this country has recently been divisive and difficult," she said. "To me this reality highlights the importance of what our graduates will take with them. They have the opportunity to have a profound impact on the world."

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