Edinboro University celebrated the academic success of 796 students in the Class of 2017 during undergraduate and graduate ceremonies May 13 on the EU campus.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote address and received an honorary Doctor of Public Service. Levine asked graduates to use their Edinboro education to work toward the common good.
“My advice to you as you take the next step in life is to remain calm and be confident,” she said. “In the midst of all the turmoil of life, you must keep yourself balanced and centered. With hard work and intense focus, your class will help usher in a brighter future for our country and the world.”
Levine was selected to receive the honorary degree on the basis of her achievements and expertise at the intersection of physical and mental health and her credentials as a physician and public servant. She joins previous EU honorary doctorate recipients who include Pennsylvania Governors Raymond P. Shafer (1992), Edward G. Rendell (2006) and Tom Ridge (2014); Erie Mayors Louis J. Tullio (1983) and Joyce A. Savocchio (2001); and television/film personalities Fred Rogers (1998) and Sharon Stone (2007).
Dr. H. Fred Walker, who was installed as the 18th President of Edinboro University on March 23, presided over the undergraduate ceremony in McComb Fieldhouse and the graduate ceremony in Louis C. Cole Auditorium – Memorial Hall. Edinboro conferred bachelor’s and associate degrees upon 627 undergraduates during the morning ceremony, and master’s degrees and post-graduate certificates upon 169 graduate students in the afternoon.
Alison M. Colangelo, of Hopewell, Pa., who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education, delivered the undergraduate student address on behalf of the Class of 2017. Colangelo reflected on the friendships and opportunities for growth that have marked her Edinboro experience.
“We are all truly beginning new chapters in our lives, and some of us will find ourselves hundreds of miles away from good old Edinboro,” she said. “The things that will keep us tied together are the memories and the passions we shared during our collegiate years – passions for learning and experiencing new things, for knowledge and finding ourselves.”
Melana L. Johnson, of Penn Hills, Pa., who earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, delivered the student address during the graduate ceremony. Johnson shared fond memories of her experience as a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) officer candidate and illustrated her passion for military and educational leadership.
“My diversity and experiences have molded me to become stronger than I was yesterday,” said Johnson, who was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Adjutant General's Corps, and will serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. “We should never allow anything to hold us back from our aspirations. Work hard and own your results – challenges as well as victories.”
Edinboro celebrated several firsts with the Class of 2017. The first graduating Doctor of Nursing Practice class was recognized with advanced degrees. Students in the program, which is offered in consortium with Clarion University, attended the Clarion ceremony this year. Because the program is offered in consortium, participation of graduating cohorts will alternate between Edinboro and Clarion’s commencement ceremonies.
The University also recognized the first cohort to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Electric Utilities Technology, a partnership with FirstEnergy Corp. designed to train the next generation of utility line workers. Of the 22 graduating members of this cohort, 18 earned their degrees with distinction, having attained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40.
Leading today’s undergraduate procession, Dr. Roger Solberg, of the English and Philosophy Department, served as the ceremonial mace bearer. Solberg carried the mace following his recognition in April as the 2017 Faculty Member of the Year. Dr. Mary Jo Melvin, chairperson of the Early Childhood and Reading Department, served as the mace bearer during the graduate commencement ceremony.
Erie County residents: 280
Allegheny County residents: 78
Crawford County residents: 66
Age range: 18-64
Total majors represented: 66
Associate degrees: 66
Bachelor’s degrees: 546
Master’s degrees: 144
Fine Arts – Applied Media Arts: 61
Business Administration: 56
Nursing – BSN: 37
Speech and Hearing Sciences: 35
Summa Cum Laude: 58
Magna Cum Laude: 72
Cum Laude: 77
Photo caption: Degree candidates process from the Pogue Student Center to McComb Fieldhouse for the start of the Undergraduate Commencement.