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WSU to award posthumous degree to homicide victim

When more than 2,000 students cross the stage at Wright State University’s graduation ceremony today, the family and friends of one former student will gather to accept the diploma he was close to earning before his death.

Wright State will award a posthumous degree in business with an emphasis in marketing to Jerelle Prather, who was shot to death at the Ivy Manor Apartments last year. Fairborn police have not yet charged the person who fired at least four shots in the apartment on West Funderberg Road on Oct. 21, fatally wounding Prather.

“This provides some solace to the family and the campus community and brings closure to his experience here at Wright State,” said Dan Abrahamowicz, WSU’s vice president of student affairs.

Graduation is being held at 10 a.m. in the Wright State Nutter Center. The university will award 49 associate degrees, 1,302 bachelor’s degrees, 583 master’s and 129 doctoral degrees, including 107 medical degrees. Janet Wolfenbarger, the first female four-star general in the U.S. Air Force and commander of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters during the ceremony.

On Friday, the university also approved a $188 annual tuition increase for next school year. It is the most allowed by Ohio lawmakers in the proposed state budget.

The board of trustees approved the hike as part of the $298 million operating budget. It represents a 2.2 percent hike for all students, bringing in-state tuition to $8,542.

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