Oil and gas CEO Don Ritter to speak at Marietta College graduation

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Oil and Gas executive and 1981 Marietta College graduate Don Ritter will deliver the Spring Commencement address at Marietta College.

Ritter is the CEO of Endurance Resources - an oil exploration and production enterprise focused on the Delaware Basin in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.

After he was appointed to be the commencement speaker for the May 6, 2018 graduation ceremony at Marietta College, Ritter said, "It is by far the greatest honor I have received. It also comes with a great responsibility to impart some wisdom to the graduating class. I'm not sure I have much of that myself, but I have been blessed to pick some up along the way from others - so I'll try to pass on what has worked for me."

Ritter, who is also an Emeritus Trustee at Marietta College, helped found Endurance Resources in 2008 following a successful career with Mobil Oil and then GeoMechanics International.

Ritter, along with his wife, Leslie Straub Ritter '85, made an initial $1 million donation to Marietta College in December 2016 to start a Music Therapy program.

The new Music Therapy major was approved by Marietta College faculty in January 2018 and will begin this fall.

"We are excited and honored that Don Ritter has agreed to address our graduates this spring," Ruud said. "Don is not only a successful businessman but also a true renaissance man who cares deeply about the arts. His message will resonate with our graduates, as well as everyone who attends the graduation ceremony."

Ruud said the College will present both Don and his wife Leslie with an honorary Ph.D. in Humane Letters during the ceremony.

While Don has a long and distinguished career in oil and gas, he is also a director with Blue Star Connection - a charity that provides musical instruments for medically challenged children and young adults.

Approximately 500 individuals and 54 hospitals have received support from Blue Star over the last 10 years.

Leslie is a principal and vice president of business solutions with Square Knot, LLC, which is a consulting firm that specializes in executive coaching, merger integration and execution, and human resource strategy. She is a two-time chair of the Marietta College Alumni Association Board, a current member of the Board of Trustees and a winner of the Young Alumna Award.

The Ritters also founded Category 5 Amplification, a custom guitar amplifier company. They started the company in January 2006 and the company's endorsing artists include musicians Brad Paisley, Joe Bonamassa, The Kenny Chesney Band, Warren Haynes and many more. Category 5 was specifically formed to support charities and to provide musicians an avenue for giving back.

Commencement weekend begins with the traditional Strawberries & Créme from Noon-1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 5th, in the DBRC, followed by the Baccalaureate Service at 2:00 p.m. in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.

The graduation ceremony begins at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, May 6th.

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