May 7, 2019

USF’s valedictorians forge ahead after making the most of their undergraduate years

The University of Saint Francis Class of 2019 valedictorians excelled in their undergraduate majors and are moving forward quickly to their next steps in careers and education. In addition to their high academic achievements, the four USF valedictorians share a commitment to Franciscan values and aim to remain true to their USF roots as they make an impact in the world.

Here is a look at the 2019 valedictorians:

Adam Hoffer

Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership

Adam, son of Troy and Deb Hoffer, majored in Business Management. He was a four-year member of the USF football team and will stay in Fort Wayne and work for Raytheon after graduation. He credits the EPIC program and his internship opportunities as key factors in his ability to line up a full-time job prior to completing his degree. He also hopes to continue his interest in football as a high school assistant coach.

“I have nothing but good things to say about USF,” Hoffer said. “The education felt professional, yet personable, and has helped to prepare me for the world after college. My internship experiences have been all I could hope for, as the EPIC program helped to land me internships at some of the best companies in Fort Wayne (K&K Insurance, MedPro Group, & Raytheon).

“The thing I valued most at USF was how the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi lives on in both the classroom and the people at USF,” Hoffer said. “Being able to integrate my faith within my studies was something I will cherish, and it has genuinely helped to make me a better person. I must also add that winning back-to-back National Championships with the football team was pretty great, too!

Jaclyn Hofstetter

School of Creative Arts

Jaclyn, daughter of Bryan and JoAnn Hofstetter, majored in Pre-Art Therapy and Psychology. She will pursue a Master of Science in Art Therapy at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wis., with a concentration in counseling.

Jaclyn completed her two USF majors in three years of study, tackling an 18-hour class load with additional courses every summer. She came to USF from Chicago after learning about the university at a portfolio review.

“The past few years at the University of Saint Francis were very formative,” Hofstetter said. “I am so grateful for all the friendships I formed, opportunities I had and activities that made me feel a part of a great community. I feel so prepared and excited to continue my education and professional career because of this university.”

Kelsie Winebrenner

School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Kelsie, daughter of Scott and Carla Winebrenner, majored in Nutrition with a concentration in the coordinated dietetics program. Kelsie plans to stay in Fort Wayne and work in a clinical setting, with a long-term goal of working as a renal dietitian in a dialysis center.

“I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately over my time here at USF, and I’ve realized that I’ve learned so much more than just how to be a dietitian,” Winebrenner said. “I’ve known that I wanted to be a dietitian since I was in the 8th grade. It has always been a goal of mine to work with people with eating disorders. That goal is what motivated me throughout my first few years of college. However, after I started doing my internships and being exposed to different avenues of the dietetics world, I slowly started to realize that my dream wasn’t exactly what I wanted anymore.

“Through completing an internship at DaVita Dialysis Center, I learned that I have a passion for renal nutrition,” Winebrenner said. “I never would have expected to like renal nutrition but, as they say, the best things in life are always unexpected. I am so thankful for all of the different internship experiences I was able to have through the university. These experiences have allowed me to not only learn about myself, but they have also allowed me to gain great mentors and professional connections that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Melissa Witmer

School of Health Sciences

Melissa, daughter of Donald and Brenda Witmer, majored in Nursing. She is working full-time as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Parkview Hospital Randallia. She also works part-time for the Bellinger Law Office as a legal assistant and volunteers on the board of directors for Camp PossAbility, a non-profit Fort Wayne organization. Melissa finished her degree in December.

“I love Saint Francis and would definitely recommend the school,” Witmer said. “My experience was amazing. The nursing program was very hard but rewarding at the same time. I knew the professors cared about me and truly wanted me to be the best nurse I could be. They took their jobs seriously and taught me to do the same. I am very proud to have graduated from Saint Francis and I want to thank everyone who made it possible, especially God. He held me together.”