Karen (Semler '92) Hanlon
Alumna Karen (Semler '92) Hanlon, executive vice president and COO of Highmark Health, will deliver the Commencement address to the class of 2023 at Grove City College during the May 20 graduation ceremony.
Hanlon, who has been recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s top women in business and one of the College’s leading alumni, oversees a $21 billion national, blended health organization that includes one of America's largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers and a growing regional hospital and physician network.
“GCC is blessed to have an alum such as Karen who is an extraordinary leader, accomplished professional and ideal role model for our graduating class,” said President Paul J. McNulty ’80.
The College provided a solid foundation for Hanlon, who majored in accounting. “They just really focus on developing the whole person and developing a quality young person with the right work ethic, prepared to go out into the world,” she said in a “’Mid the Pines” interview in 2021.
D. Dean Weaver ’86
Another alum, the Rev. Dr. D. Dean Weaver ’86, will preach during the graduation eve Baccalaureate service. Weaver is the Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which represents more than 600 local churches around the world. Weaver served as interim Dean of Chapel from 2018 to 2020.
“Dean was the beloved ‘Chaplain Weaver’ when our graduating seniors were freshmen in 2019-20. He helped them through the disappointment of leaving campus because of Covid in March 2020. His return to the pulpit will be a reminder of God’s faithfulness,” McNulty said.
Alumni are an important part of the College community. Highlighting their wisdom and success at Commencement provides the Class of 2023 with a connection to those who have been where they are and relatable examples of what can be achieved with a degree from Grove City College.
“Our graduates will have the benefit of hearing from two alumni who have had great impact and success in their respective fields and can share words of encouragement on behalf of our entire alumni network,” Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jeff Prokovich ’89 said.
Hanlon earned an Accounting degree from Grove City College. She is a leader, strategist and visionary for Highmark Health, helping to guide the organization's mission to create remarkable health experiences that free people to be their best. She is responsible for overseeing the strategy and long-term operations of Highmark Health and Highmark Inc. Hanlon also oversees the operations of Gateway Health, the Highmark HealthPenn State Health partnership and HM Health Solutions.
She began her career in public accounting at KPMG Peat Marwick and joined Highmark Inc. in 1997. During her tenure, Hanlon held several positions within the finance division before becoming the chief financial officer and treasurer of Highmark Health in 2014, and the chief operating officer of Highmark Health in 2018. As chief financial officer, she played a significant role in strengthening the overall financial performance of the enterprise.
Hanlon also guided the financial turnaround of Allegheny Health Network, which was nearing bankruptcy when it was acquired by Highmark Health in 2013. Hanlon leveraged this financial turnaround to execute Allegheny Health Network's $1 billion bond offering in 2018, its first ever public tax-exempt financing that secured a long term and stable capital structure, a critical step in enabling Highmark Health to deliver on its promise of building a blended payor/provider model that will deliver high-quality, low-cost health care to its members and customers.
In recognition of her achievements, Hanlon was named a 2018 CFO of the Year by The Pittsburgh Business Times and a 2019 recipient of the Grove City College Alumni Association’s Jack Kennedy Memorial Alumni Achievement Award, which honors alumni who have made significant contributions in their field. Hanlon has also served on the boards of Leadership Pittsburgh and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. She is married to fellow graduate Shawn Hanlon ’91.
Weaver, who earned degrees in History and Religion, is a pastor, missionary and church leader who serves his alma mater as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. He earned a M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and masters and doctorate degrees in Theology, Preaching and Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
He has served as stated clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church since January 2021. Prior to being called to EPC office, Weaver served as the lead pastor of Memorial Park, an Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, Pa., for 15 years, and interim Chaplain at Grove City College. He was a frequent chapel speaker before assuming the interim role.
Weaver was the moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly, past chair of the National Leadership Team, and the co-chair’ of the Revelation 7:9 Task Force. He previously served as the moderator and ministerial committee chair of the EPC’s Presbytery of the Alleghenies. Weaver was one of the founders and former co-moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches and served as the co-chair of the New Wineskins/EPC Joint Commission.
Weaver is also a cofounder of EduNations, a not-for-profit organization that builds and operates schools in Sierra Leone. He was instrumental in the founding of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone. Weaver serves on the boards of World Reformed Fellowship and the National Association of Evangelicals.
His daughter, Hannah (Weaver ’12) Gourley, also graduated from the College.