– College commencements—an annual rite of spring—are being readied on each of the campuses comprising Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Thousands of students will walk across the stage to receive their degrees from the 14 universities, prepared to begin their lives as successful graduates.
Spring commencement ceremonies will be held during the first two weekends of May on the various State System campuses. Details of each of the programs follow:
Bloomsburg – Three undergraduate ceremonies will be held May 12, beginning at 8:30 a.m. for graduates of the Zeigler College of Business and the College of Education. Ed Breiner, a 1977 alumnus and former president and CEO of Schramm, Inc., will be the speaker.
Nancy Vasta, who earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Bloomsburg and is vice president of consumer health engagement at Cigna, will address graduates of the College of Science and Technology at noon. Ms. Vasta also is a member of the university’s Council of Trustees.
State Superior Court Judge Mary Jane Bowes, also a Bloomsburg University trustee, will speak to graduates of the College of Liberal Arts at 3:30 p.m.
All of the undergraduate ceremonies will be held on the Academic Quad.
Graduate students will receive their degrees in a separate ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m., May 11, in Haas Center for the Arts, Mitrani Hall. Bloomsburg University President Bashar W. Hanna will be the speaker.
California – Larry Maggi, chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners and a member of California University of Pennsylvania’s Council of Trustees, will be the speaker at both the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, both of which will be held in the Convocation Center. Mr. Maggi graduated from Cal U. in 1979. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a trooper and criminal investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police for 24 years.
The program for graduate students receiving degrees will be held at 7 p.m., May 11; the undergraduate program, at 10 a.m., May 12.
Cheyney – Dr. Irvin Clark, vice president of economic development and dean of the Newton Campus at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, will speak to graduates at 11 a.m., May 12, on the historic quadrangle. A first-generation college attendee, Dr. Clark earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Cheyney.
Clarion – Three ceremonies will be held May 12, all in Marwick-Boyd auditorium on the Clarion campus.
Economics professor Dr. Rod Raehsler will address graduates of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences at 10 a.m. Dr. Mark Lepore, a professor of rehabilitation sciences, will speak at 1 p.m. to graduates of the College of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Jeff Eicher, a professor of finance, at 4 p.m., to those receiving degrees from the College of Business and Information Services.
Graduates of Clarion University-Venango will receive their degrees in a ceremony to be held beginning at 6:30 p.m., May 11, in Robert W. Rhoades gymnasium.
East Stroudsburg – The Reverend Jeffery Brown, a 1982 ESU alumnus, will address undergraduates at 8:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., May 5, in Koehler Fieldhouse.
Graduates in the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education will receive their degrees during the morning ceremony and those in the colleges of Business and Management and Health Sciences, during the afternoon program. The Rev. Brown is a nationally recognized leader and expert in gang, youth and urban violence reduction and coalition building. He is the founder of RECAP (Rebuilding Every City Around Peace), a national initiative organized to assist cities in building better partnerships among the faith-based community, government and law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce gang violence.
Angela Harrington, vice president of communications and external relations at Berkeley College, will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony at 7 p.m., May 4, also in Koehler Fieldhouse. Harrington is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with experience in higher education business, foundation and community partnerships, women’s issues, economic development and entrepreneurship.
Edinboro – Xavier Williams, president of the Public Sector and Wholesale Solutions for AT&T Services, Inc., will address undergraduates at 10 a.m., May 12, in McComb Fieldhouse. Mr. Williams, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Edinboro, also will receive an honorary degree.
The graduate commencement ceremony will be held at 2 p.m., May 12, in Louis C. Cole Auditorium in Memorial Hall.
Indiana – Graduating students will speak during morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies for undergraduate students to be held May 12 in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Graduates in the colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Health and Human Services will receive their degrees during the morning ceremony, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Those in the colleges of Education and Communications, Fine Arts, and Humanities and Social Sciences and the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology will be presented with their degrees in the afternoon, with the program scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
A separate program for graduate students receiving master’s and doctoral degrees will be held at 7:30 p.m., May 11, also in the KCAC.
Kutztown – In keeping with tradition, outstanding faculty and students will serve as commencement speakers at both morning and afternoon ceremonies to be held May 11 and 12 in O’Pake Fieldhouse.
Undergraduate students from the colleges of Education and Liberal Arts and Sciences will receive their degrees during ceremonies scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., May 12. David Eltz, a secondary English education major, will be the student speaker. Psychology professor Dr. Gregory Shelly will be the faculty speaker. Linda Cliatt-Wayman, a 1983 Kutztown graduate and principal Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, will receive an honorary degree during the program.
Graduates from the colleges of Business and Visual and Performing Arts will receive their degrees during the afternoon program, scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Meredith Heydt, a communication design major, will be the student speaker; and Vicki Meloney, a professor of communication design, the faculty speaker.
Graduate students will receive their degrees in a separate ceremony to be held at 5 p.m., May 11. Alana Greene, a student affairs in higher education major, will be the student speaker; and Dr. John Vafeas, a professor of social work, the faculty speaker. The university will award its first doctoral degrees during the program. Six students will receive Doctor of Social Work degrees.
Lock Haven – LHU alumnus and local artist Tom Svec will speak during the undergraduate ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., May 12, in Hubert Jack Stadium. Mr. Svec is a respected woodworking artisan and craftsman. He also served in the Army during the Vietnam War.
Ron Reynolds, vice president for Clinton County operations and chief administrative officer of UPMC Lock Haven Hospital, will address graduate students receiving degrees at 7 p.m., May 11, in Price Performance Center. Mr. Reynolds holds a master’s degrees in business administration from Kutztown University.
Mansfield – Dolores Stafford, president and CEO of D. Stafford & Associates and a 1987 Mansfield graduate, will speak at commencement ceremonies scheduled for 11 a.m., May 5, at Decker Gymnasium. D. Stafford & Associates is a professional services firm focusing on safety and security related issues on college campuses, specializing in Clery Act and Title IX compliance issues. She previously spent more than 20 years in campus law enforcement at George Washington, Butler and Bucknell universities.
Millersville – Millersville University President Dr. John M. Anderson will be the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony to be held at 10 a.m., May 12, on Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium. Dr. Anderson plans to retire in June.
University professor Dr. Rita Smith Wade-El will speak to graduate students receiving their degrees at 6:30 p.m., May 11, in Pucillo Gymnasium.
Shippensburg – Dr. Roger Serr, retiring vice president of student affairs, will address undergraduates at 11 a.m., May 12, in Seth Grove Stadium. Dr. Serr has been at the university for 24 years.
Cathy Buhrig, who earned a pair of degrees from Shippensburg, will address students receiving graduate degrees at 7 p.m., May 11, in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Ms. Buhrig is director for the Bureau of Policy in the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Income Maintenance.
Slippery Rock – University Interim President Dr. Philip K. Way will be the commencement speaker for separate ceremonies scheduled for May 11 and 12 in Morrow Field House.
Graduate students will receive their degrees at 7 p.m., May 11. The program for undergraduate students in the colleges of Health, Environment and Science and Liberal Arts is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., May 12; and for the colleges of Business and Education, at 2 p.m.
West Chester – Three West Chester University alumni will address graduates during ceremonies scheduled for May 12 and 13. Separate ceremonies also will be held May 14 for graduates who studied at the university’s Philadelphia campus.
Colonel Deborah J. Chase, (Ret.), who earned her degree from West Chester in 1976, will address undergraduate students in the colleges of Business & Public Management and Health Sciences and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at 9 a.m., May 12. Col. Chase served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, earning the Legion of Merit award as a leader in program management and acquisition at senior levels in the Department of Defense.
Jack Devine, a 1962 WCU alumnus, of the Arkin Group, LLC, will address undergraduate students in the colleges of Arts & Humanities, Education & Social Work and Sciences & Mathematics and the School of Music at 9 a.m., May 13. Mr. Devine was a 32-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as the director of the CIA’s worldwide operations in the mid-1990s. He also served as chief of the Latin American Division and headed the CIA’s Counternarcotics Center. His book, Good Hunting! An American Spymaster's Story, was published in 2014 and is a New York Times bestseller. Both ceremonies will be held in Farrell Stadium.
Chip Smith, who earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from West Chester, will address graduate students at 4 p.m., May 13, in Hollinger Fieldhouse. Mr. Smith is president and a co-founder of Fedora Security Group, a security technology company with offices in Charlotte, New York, Tel Aviv and London. He previously worked for the Secret Service for 24 years.
Student Lizette Lewis will address undergraduates receiving their degrees from West Chester’s Philadelphia campus at 5 p.m., May 14, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia. Brian Burman, also a student, will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony at 7 p.m., at the same location.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling more than 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.