The University of Scranton Confers More Than 900 Undergraduate Degrees

June 1, 2015

The University of Scranton conferred more than 930 bachelor’s and associate degrees at its undergraduate commencement on May 31 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the 24th president of The University of Scranton and current president of Georgetown Prep in Washington, D.C., served as the principal speaker. He received an honorary degree at the ceremony, as did University alumna Karen L. Pennington, Ph.D., ’76, G’83, vice president for student development and campus life at Montclair State University, New Jersey.

Father Pilarz described his participation in the University’s commencement as “pure joy,” saying “I am at a place that will always be my home.”

In an address peppered with quotes from rock stars and poets, Father Pilarz told graduates of the ‘wisdom’ their Jesuit education provides.

 “I use the word wisdom quite deliberately when I am talking about the kind of education you have received here,” said Father Pilarz, who used a scene from the 1980 film “Atlantic City” to illustrate the difference between “information” and “wisdom.”

Father Pilarz also acknowledged the important role parents and faculty played in providing the graduates with the “precious gift” they have received: “the gift of a Catholic and Jesuit education at The University of Scranton.”

“In their sacred work the faculty are released – and they release you – from ‘straight lines, blocks, boxes and binds of thought’ into a liberating appreciation of meaning, true significance and wisdom. In their sacred work, they point beyond themselves to the wisdom that life is best lived not in the promotion of self but generously in the service of others,” said Father Pilarz.

In addition to the remarks by Father Pilarz, University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., addressed the graduates and their guests. Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, provided the Invocation. Brendan M. Donegan, who received his bachelor’s degree in communication, provided remarks on behalf of the class of 2015. He also advised his classmates to “live to make a difference.”

Also speaking commencement were: Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies; Michael O. Mensah, Ph.D., dean of the Kania School of Management; Brian P. Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Martina A. Martin ’80, president of the Alumni Society; and Jennifer L. LaPorta, J.D., executive director of the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Members of the University’s class of 2015 represent 16 states, including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Undergraduate majors with the most graduates are biology, nursing, exercise science, health sciences – occupational therapy, psychology and accounting.

Graduates also included the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year. Benjamin Turcea, who received his bachelor of science degree, summa cum laude, in international studies and philosophy as a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mongolia.

Click here for a list of degree recipients.

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