Mercyhurst College Commencement Weekend 2011, slated for May 21-22, will witness the graduation of 936 students in three separate ceremonies - one for traditional-age graduates, another for adult and graduate students, and the third for students of Mercyhurst North East, West and Corry.
Graduation for traditional-age students, which number 495 eligible candidates, takes place at the Louis J. Tullio Arena, 809 French St., on Sunday, May 22, at 2 p.m. The ceremony is preceded by the Traditional March Along State Street, now in its 21st year, which begins from the Avalon Hotel at 1:45 p.m. with students processing north on State to East Ninth Street to the Tullio Arena.
Commencement speakers include Mercyhurst President Dr. Thomas J. Gamble, Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard A. Lanzillo Esq., and Carpe Diem Award recipient Bethany Brun, a double major in religious studies and sociology who also starred on the women's rowing team. The Carpe Diem Award is presented to the outstanding senior who has made the most positive impact on the life of the Mercyhurst community and who best exemplifies the college motto, “Carpe Diem” – “Seize the Opportunity.” (SEE SEPARATE STORY ON AWARD WINNERS.) The Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Smith, Vicar General, will represent the Diocese of Erie.
Besides Sunday's commencement, Mercyhurst celebrates the graduation of its adult and graduate students on Saturday, May 21, at 2 p.m. in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center. The 174 eligible candidates include 108 receiving master's degrees from one of Mercyhurst's six graduate programs; the remaining are adult recipients earning their undergraduate degrees.
Mary Ellen Dahlkemper, assistant secretary of the Mercyhurst College Trustees, will welcome Saturday’s guests, while Dr. Gil Jacobs, director of Mercyhurst’s graduate program in Organizational Leadership, will deliver the commencement address.
During Saturday's exercises, Jay Breneman will receive the Catherine McAuley Adult Student Award. The other top adult award – the President's Award for Adult Excellence – goes to Sean Fedorko.
Saturday also marks Mercyhurst North East’s Commencement and the kick-off to its 20-year anniversary celebration. Eligible graduates number 260 from its associate degree programs and seven graduates – the first class – from its new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The 1 p.m. exercises take place at Liguori Fieldhouse and also honor 11 graduates of the Mercyhurst West campus and three from the Corry campus.
In keeping with the historical perspective of its anniversary, the Very Rev. Patrick Woods, C.Ss.R., the last Redemptorist priest stationed at St. Mary’s Seminary, the predecessor to Mercyhurst North East, will deliver the commencement address.
As part of graduation ceremonies, the college will also honor longstanding friend and benefactor, Mercyhurst Trustee Robert S. Miller of North East, with a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, for his extraordinary contributions to Mercyhurst North East. (SEE SEPARATE STORY ON MNE GRADUATION.)
Others slated to speak at the North East graduation are Mercyhurst College President Dr. Thomas Gamble, Provost Dr. James Adovasio, Marlene Mosco, chair of the board of trustees; and student Medal of Honor recipient Jacob Johnson. Mercyhurst North East Executive Vice President Dr. Gary Brown will present the diplomas.