Bonnie E. Raquet, speaker at Valparaiso University’s 2011 Spring Commencement, told more than 725 graduating students that great opportunities and challenges are ahead as they embrace the future.

“Together with your professors, and many others in this community, you have worked to build your knowledge, character, integrity, and wisdom. Graduation is not the end of that work – only the beginning,” said Raquet, a 1970 graduate and a member of the Board of Directors of Valparaiso University. She is a retired executive for Cargill Inc.

The Valpo community – students, families and well-wishers, faculty, staff and alumni — celebrated commencement with a weekend’s worth of events, culminating in Sunday afternoon’s commencement proceedings, which came before a packed Athletics-Recreation Center.

Other events included the well-attended Baccalaureate service at the Chapel of the Resurrection Sunday morning, and in between the two big events, receptions for each of the University’s academic colleges.

It was a day to remember, though the cold and rainy weather was forgettable.

Three honorary degrees were awarded at Sunday’s commencement:

• Laura Harting was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of public service for her service as leader in the field of health care, an advocate for nursing education, a contributor to improvement of public services, and an innovator in health service delivery.

• Wolf and Olga Hellmich Brixner were awarded an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters for their service as educators with long service to Valparaiso University in Germany, contributors to scholarship in German-language education, and as facilitators of learning opportunities for Valparaiso University students abroad.

Among those honored at commencement were five retiring faculty members with nearly 200 years of service to Valparaiso University combined: Professor Meredith W. Berg. history; Professor John W. Feaster, English; Professor Stanley L. Hughes, psychology; Professor Warren M. Kosman, chemistry; And Professor Jerry M. Wagenblast, mathematics.

Also honored were two faculty members who are stepping down from their posts: College of Business Dean Thomas E. Boyt, who is returning to the faculty, and David L. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Information and Decision Sciences, who is stepping down from his position of University Marshal, which he has held since 1994.

The joint undergraduate and Graduate School commencement was Sunday. The Valparaiso University School of Law celebrates commencement Saturday, May 21.