2015 Spring Commencement
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.
The senator was instrumental in creating the $4 million Luzerne County Small Business Loan Program that aided in recovery following 2011 flooding and continues to serve as a financial resource for local small business expansion and job creation. Senator Yudichak's commitment to economic development has resulted in numerous successful projects in the region from the creation of a medical facility in Nanticoke to the expansion of a pharmaceutical company in Swiftwater.
Senator Yudichak, along with Congressman Lou Barletta, launched Operation Gang Up, a community-based initiative created to address gang activity in the region. He helped write Pennsylvania's first anti-gang law, secured funding for safe schools training for teachers and fought for investments in after-school and community programs for children.
A tireless advocate for public libraries and area youth programs, Senator Yudichak founded the Yudichak Family Lighthouse Fund of the Luzerne Foundation through private charitable efforts. Since its inception, the fund has donated more than $100,000 to local libraries and other community programs.
A valued partner and supporter of Wilkes University, Senator Yudichak helped to secure a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant to enhance engineering labs in Stark Learning Center. He also helped to obtain a $600,000 PennDOT grant to assist with the construction of the University's Campus Gateway project, benefitting both the campus and downtown Wilkes-Barre communities. In addition, Wilkes University is the higher education partner for SHINE, an educational afterschool program for Luzerne County schoolchildren launched in 2015 by Senator Yudichak and Congressman Barletta.