Class of 2024 mortarboard tassel

SPCS Commencement speakers include a distinguished graduate student, long-time adjunct faculty member and accomplished alum

April 12, 2024

SPCS Commencement

As part of a long-standing tradition, a graduating student, faculty member, and an alum will address School of Professional and Continuing Studies graduates during the the School’s graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 11. This year’s speakers are graduate student Zariah Chiverton, ’22, adjunct professor Elisabeth E. Wray, W’74, G’77, and alum Annette L. Ardler, C’01.

Chiverton headshot

Zariah Chiverton is earning her Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degree. In 2022, Chiverton earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond. She majored in philosophy, politics, economics, and law (PPEL) and decided to extend her stay at UR and pursue her master’s degree. She was selected as student commencement speaker by the SPCS faculty.

With career aspirations of becoming an attorney and a passion for defending and protecting the rights of others, Chiverton designed her MLA focus on sports and entertainment law, specifically on the protection of student athletes. Throughout her program, Chiverton incorporated research on sports and entertainment law into her coursework. She enrolled in two electives in sports leadership and completed an internship with the Athletics Department’s compliance office, allowing her to gain first-hand professional knowledge of how law and sports intertwine on a college campus.

Elisabeth Wray headshot

Elisabeth Wray, the 2024 Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award recipient, has taught at the University of Richmond since 1978. She is an adjunct professor of liberal arts in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (SPCS) and an adjunct instructor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences (A&S). She also served as academic coordinator for the SPCS Weekend College program from 2008-10.

In addition to teaching, Wray is a free-lance editor and writer who has published two social studies textbooks. She has also researched American women’s history, especially Southern and 19th century history and during times of war; Constitutional history; Virginia history; and American history, Colonial period through 1890.

In her more than 45 years at UR, Wray has served on many different university committees and been active in several organizations. She has also supported students across the campus in a variety of ways. In the 1980s, Wray was a member of the Athletic Department’s “Foster Parents Program” for scholarship athletes. Wray served as an academic advisor for freshmen and sophomores in the School of Arts and Sciences throughout the 1980s and 1990s. From 1988-94, she also served as faculty advisor to Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and was a member of UR’s Greek Life Advisory Board.

Annette Ardler headshot

Annette Ardler, the 2024 Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award winner, is a vice president and senior underwriter in the US Agents team at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. She underwrites Errors and Omissions (E&O) business in the Alliance Program, focusing on the needs of networks and aggregators. In addition to her underwriting duties, Ardler is the Risk Management Expert and oversees loss control and risk management for the US Agents program. She works closely with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) both nationally and with the individual state IIABA associations to develop, implement and promote ongoing risk management efforts for independent insurance agents.

Ardler earned her bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies from the School of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2001. While a student, she was actively engaged in the Student Government Association and served as its president for three years. Ardler joined the SPCS Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2017. She is currently the immediate past-president and has held the roles of Governance Committee chair and vice president and served two terms as president.

Chiverton, Ardler and Wray will be officially recognized for their achievements on May 8 at SPCS Night, the School’s annual awards convocation.