Commencement Speakers

JacobDSmithJacob D. Smith

Jacob D. Smith is the congressional staff assistant for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur covering veteran services, military, IRS and postal service casework. He served in the U.S. Army from 2000-04 as a field artilleryman and was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, with the 1st Armored Division as a sergeant from 2003-04. He continues to serve his country through volunteer efforts as a board member and trustee of Honor Flight Cleveland, an organization that, through funding and support, enables veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., to visit memorial sites free of charge.

Smith earned an associate degree from BGSU Firelands in 2007, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science, in 2009, and a master’s degree in public administration in 2011 from the Bowling Green campus. He remains active with BGSU Firelands as a member of the Leadership Council and as a board member of the James H. McBride Arboretum.  

He lives in North Royalton with his wife, Lauren ‘08, their daughter, Emily, and son, Ryan.

Melanie CraigMelanie Craig

Melanie Craig is graduating with her second degree from BGSU Firelands, an Associate of Applied Science in human services. She also received an Associate of Science in 2017. She is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in political science from Bowling Green State University, and plans to graduate in August 2019.

A nontraditional student, Craig enrolled in BGSU Firelands in spring 2015 and has been active in student organizations and special events on and off campus. She has played key leadership roles in Student Government, serving as secretary her first year, followed by two consecutive years as president. She has also been the student representative to Faculty Senate on the Bowling Green campus for two semesters. As part of Model United Nations, Craig participated in the Dayton Model United Nations Conference held in 2017. Also that year, she attended Propel Ohio, a leadership program sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown promoting civic engagement and inspiring Ohio undergraduate students to grow into civic leaders. Most recently, she attended Regional Branch Campus Day at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to advocate for regional campuses with state representatives and senators.

She and her husband, Rick, have six children in their blended family.