Philadelphia University Celebrates 126th Commencement Ceremony

Graduates walked across the stage at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts yesterday, Sunday, May 16, in front of a cheering crowd of family, friends, faculty and staff during the 126th Commencement ceremony.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., gave the commencement address and received the honorary degree Doctor of Engineering. Fattah stressed the importance of the work Philadelphia University students, faculty and staff are conducting to this region, nation and greater society. “This great university is important to this region and country. The impact of this class and alumni is felt all across the world,” he said.

John D. Couch, vice president of education at Apple, Inc., and Allen E. Sirkin ’64, president and chief operating officer of Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, both received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters at Philadelphia University’s An Evening of Innovation the week prior to Commencement.

“With this ever-changing world we send you off into today, what must remain constant is your ability and desire to learn,” advised President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. “Your education does not end today. You must commit to being a lifelong learner.”

At Commencement, John Pierce, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. The award and medal are made possible by a gift from the late Charles Rothchild, past president and chair of Hanson Textiles and alumnus of the Class of 1923. Jeff Ashley, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award.

Devisha Patel, a graduate of the Physician Assistant Studies Program from Tanzania, was also this year’s class valedictorian and she received the President’s Award for Excellence as an undergraduate student. Fern Gookin, who received an M.S. in Sustainable Design, received the President’s Award for Excellence as a graduate student. Darlene Thomas-Burroughs, a graduate of the Human Resource Management Program, received the President’s Award for Excellence as a continuing and professional studies student.

The Sara Tyler Wister Awards for excellence in scholarship are given each year to the students who have earned the highest scholastic average in each academic school. This year’s winners were: David Cremer, School of Architecture; Brin A. Marcinek and Damian P. Walther, School of Business Administration; Laura Lynn Anderson, School of Design and Media; Brianne Kimberly Whitt, School of Engineering and Textiles; Devisha Patel, School of Science and Health; and Edward Tafel, Continuing and Professional Studies.

Jillian Arciero ’10, a business administration major from Philadelphia, was the winner of this year’s student speaker competition and presented the student address at the 2010 Commencement ceremony.

Arciero demonstrated significant leadership on campus and beyond throughout her student career. She served as the vice president of campus outreach for the Student Government Association (SGA) and was an editor-in-chief of The Text. Her dedication to service is reflected in her activities as a tutor with Reading STARS, and as a volunteer at the Northern Home for Children.  She has also studied abroad in Rome and interned at four publishing companies.  Click here to ready her full speech.

Larry Karlin ’50, who traveled from Colorado to celebrate his 60th reunion at Alumni Weekend, welcomed the newest class to the alumni community.

For a gallery of Commencement photos, click here.

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