Graduate Speaker - State Senator John T. Yudichak
State Senator John T. Yudichak of the 14th Senatorial District is highly regarded as an effective and independent advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for more than a decade. While Senator Yudichak's dedication to building the economy, protecting the environment, helping senior citizens and keeping communities safe has had broad effects across the Commonwealth, the senator's most important work continues to be done in communities throughout Carbon, Luzerne and Monroe counties.
Undergraduate Speaker - Seymour Holtzman
Native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 1957 graduate of Wilkes College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce and Finance; chairman, president and chief executive officer of Jewelcor, Inc.; chairman and chief executive officer of Gruen Marketing Corporation; chairman and chief executive officer of Jewelcor Management, Inc; chairman of the board of Destination XL Group Inc; owner of C.D. Peacock in Chicago, the Rolex Luxury Swiss in Miami and Homeclick. corn; leading investor in the purchase of the General Banking and Trust, LTD, in Budapest, Hungary, the first bank in Eastern Europe to be privatized; real estate investor and developer, both in the Wyoming Valley and nationwide; honored as `Man of theYear' by the Cardinal Cushing School and Training Center in Boston and as 'Man of the Year' by the B'nai B'rith Youth Services; National Finance Co-Chairman of the Reagan-Bush Campaign; and appointed by President Reagan to the United States Department of Commerce's Industry Policy Committee; loving husband to Evie, proud father of Steven, Marc and Allison.
|Graduate Speaker - Christopher Breiseth
Christopher N. Breiseth, Ph.D., served as the fourth president of Wilkes University and remains President Emeritus. Prior to his arrival in 1984, he made significant contributions to the world of academia serving as assistant professor of history at Williams College in Williamston, Mass., a member of the Danforth Postdoctoral Fellowship in Black Studies at the University of Chicago, professor of history at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield), and serving as the president of Deep Springs College.
|Undergraduate Speaker - Stelios Patsiokas '75
Stelios J. Patsiokas, Ph.D., was born in Serres, Greece in 1953. He came to the United States in 1971 and entered Wilkes College under a tuition fellowship in August 1971. After the completion of his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1975, he entered Virginia Tech where he obtained a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1977 and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1979.
Ronald Rittenmeyer '72
President and CEO of Expert Global Solutions, Inc.
Ronald Rittenmeyer, chairman, president and CEO of Expert Global Solutions, Inc., delivered the spring 2013 commencement address. Rittenmeyer, a Kingston, Pa., native now living in Plano, Texas, graduated from Wilkes in 1972 with a degree in commerce and economics. He will receive an honorary degree, the doctor of humane letters, honoring him for his leadership and distinguished contributions to the fields of business and industry.
Sharon H. Lee
Low-Income Housing Advocate
Sharon H. Lee, founding executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), will delivered the Spring 2012 commencement address at Wilkes University on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Advocate for the rights and interests of children in the juvenile justice system
Attorney Robert Listenbee, member of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, delivered the University’s 64th annual Spring commencement address on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 1 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Hon. Edward Rendell
Pennsylvania Governor 2003 - 2011
The Hon. Edward Rendell, Pennsylvania governor, delivered the commencement address at Wilkes University’s 63rd annual spring commencement on 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
John Brooks Slaughter
Advocate of increased minority participation in engineering and the sciences
John Brooks Slaughter, who served as the first African American director of the National Science Foundation, delivered the keynote address at Wilkes University’s 62nd annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 16, 2009.
Thomas H. Kean
Governor of New Jersey (
The Hon. Thomas H. Kean served as keynote speaker at Wilkes University's 61st Annual Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 15, 2008.
Actress Marlee Matlin delivered the keynote address at Wilkes University’s 60th Annual Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 19, 2007.
Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault delivered the keynote address at Wilkes University’s 59th annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 20th, 2006.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Environmental advocate and political activist
Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., delivered the keynote address at Wilkes University’s 58th annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 21, 2005.
William H. Cosby
Award-winning actor, writer, comedian, producer and composer
Actor Bill Cosby served as keynote speaker at Wilkes University's 57th Annual Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 15, 2004.
Chief Executive Officer of Staples, Inc.
Ron Sargent, Chief Executive Officer of Staples, Inc., served as keynote speaker for Wilkes University’s 56th annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 17, 2003.