The Class of 2012 walked across the stage to cheers from family, friends, faculty and staff at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, May 13, for Philadelphia University’s 128th Commencement ceremony.
James O. Ellis III, an accomplished swimming coach, educator and inspirational speaker, gave the Commencement address and received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters. Ellis spoke about his career as a swim coach for Philadelphia youths and the importance of pursuing your passions. His success as a swimming coach inspired the 2007 film Pride starring Terrence Howard.
“When you are doing what it is that you are meant to do, you will never work a day in your life,” Ellis said. “Find the passion and abilities that empower you, and the possibilities of what you will and can achieve in life will be endless.”
D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., chancellor emeritus of Drexel University College of Medicine and member of the Philadelphia University board of trustees, also was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters at Commencement. George Y.V. King ’69 H’11, managing director of Wearbest Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd., also received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters this past fall in Hong Kong.
At Commencement, Katharine Jones, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, was recognized for receiving the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Harvey Lermack, assistant professor of management, was recognized for receiving the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. The teaching awards were announced at the faculty reception May 11. Jones’ 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.
Alexandrea P. Jared, a graduate of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts with a degree in physician assistant studies, was honored as the Class of 2012 valedictorian. President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. presented the President’s Award for Excellence to Christian LaMotte for undergraduate studies, Stephanie Spada for graduate studies and Barbara A. Smith for continuing and professional studies.
Jordan Cammarata ’12, winner of this year’s student speaker competition, presented the student address at the 2012 Commencement Ceremony. Cammarata, an industrial design major, urged the graduating class to take advantage of the opportunities they have to connect with loved ones and pursue meaningful paths.
“Each of us has done something profound by graduating today. As we move beyond Philadelphia University we will always know that we are capable of finishing what we started,” Cammarata said. “Let’s take responsibility for this accomplishment and recognize that we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.”
In his speech, Cammarata talked about reconnecting with his mother after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and how his search for “real-world experience” led him to Philadelphia University. Click here to read his full speech.
Congratulating the class of 2012, President Spinelli told the graduating students, “As first-year students, I expected you to thrive at Philadelphia University. You have proven me right. Now, I expect you to do even more. You will create much value in the world.” Click here to read President Spinelli’s full speech.