WILKES-BARRE, PA. (May 17, 2014) - More than 700 doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees were awarded as Wilkes University held its 67th spring commencement ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students on May 17. The 10 a.m. ceremony for graduate students and 3 p.m. ceremony for undergraduates were held in the Arnaud C. Marts Sports & Conference Center. Graduates marched down South Franklin Street and entered the center to the music of bagpipers leading the procession.
Christopher N. Breiseth, Wilkes University president emeritus, delivered the commencement address for graduate students receiving doctoral and master’s degrees at the morning evenet. Wilkes alumnus Stelios J. Patsiokas, corporate vice president and chief innovation officer for Sirius XM Satellite Radio, delivered the afternoon address to undergraduates. Both Breiseth and Patsiokas received honorary degrees at the commencement ceremonies. Breiseth received the Doctor of Humane Lettersand Patsiokas received the Doctor of Science.
Attendees at the afternoon ceremony for undergraduates were addressed by Ian Foley of Whitehall, Pa., who is the recipient of the Alumni Award for Leadership, presented by the Wilkes Alumni Association to the student who has made the strongest contribution to student life and student activities. The son of Karen and Tom Foley, Foley graduated with a bachelor of art with majors in communication studies and political science, awarded magna cum laude.
Foley, a graduate of East Stroudsburg High School, served as president of student government during the past academic year, and previously served as student government’s vice president and parliamentarian. He has been a member of several Wilkes committees including the IT cloud implementation committee, the university website design committee, the campus operations committee and the student representative to the presidential installation committee. He has been the residential coordinator for the first-year student orientation program, and served as a student ambassador for the admissions office. Foley has been inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society and Rho Alpha Sigma, the honor society for resident assistants. Following his graduation, Ian will begin a graduate assistantship at Rowan University in New Jersey where he starts work on a master of arts degree in higher education administration.
Three students were recognized with the Wandell Award, presented to the female and male undergraduate students with the highest grade-point average in the graduating class. The two female recipients tying for the award are Katherine Dodson of Nuremberg, Pa., the daughter of Susan and Charles Dodson, and Kyla J. Halsor, of Dallas, Pa., the daughter of Sid Halsor and Cydney Faul-Halsor. Both women had a 3.95 grade-point average. The male student honored was Robert Sperazza of Pittston, Pa., the son of Joseph and Colleen Sperazza. Sperazza had 3.95 grade-point average.
Dodson, a graduate of Marian High School, earned the bachelor of arts degree with a double major in communication studies and psychology, awarded summa cum laude. She also received the award for Outstanding Graduate in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Halsor, a graduate of Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School, earned the bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, awarded summa cum laude. She was admitted to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
Sperazza, a graduate of Pittston Area High School, earned the bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, awarded summa cum laude. He was also named the Outstanding Scholar in Biology.
Two students were recognized by Wilkes faculty with the Mehm Prize, presented to the students who have served as examples of the ideal Wilkes undergraduate. Jordyn Miller of Lehighton, Pa., the daughter of Kim and George Miller, and Nimita Patel of Mountain Top, Pa., the daughter of Bharat and Madhu Patel.
Miller, a graduate of Lehighton Area High School, earned the bachelor of science degree with a major in mechanical engineering, awarded cum laude. She was a resident assistant, an e-mentor and orientation leader, a student ambassador for the admissions office, and recently organized a 5K Glow Run to raise donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Miller is also the recipient of the Dr. Ronald J. Wotring Scholarship. Following her graduation, Miller will begin full time employment as a design engineer at Wyman Gordon in Wilkes-Barre.
Patel, a graduate of Crestwood Area High School, earned a bachelor of arts degree with a triple major in criminology, psychology and sociology. She has served as the lead ambassador for the admissions office, an e-mentor and orientation leader, vice president for the Class of 2014, and was the undergraduate representative to the provost search committee.
About Wilkes University:
Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the university provides its students with the experience, mentoring and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as personal growth. Recently named one of the fastest growing universities in the United States by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilkes offers the doctor of nursing practice, doctor of education and doctor of pharmacy degrees and more than a dozen master’s degree programs, including the master of business administration and master of fine arts in creative
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