University Confers More than 600 Master’s and Doctoral Degrees at Commencement

May 27, 2017

The University of Scranton conferred more than 600 master’s and doctoral degrees, including its first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees, at its graduate commencement ceremony on May 27 in the Byron Recreation Complex. Graduates recognized at the ceremony include those who completed their degree requirements in August and December of 2016, as well as January and May of 2017. 

The University conferred three doctor of nursing practice degrees, 36 doctor of physical therapy degrees and more than 580 master’s degrees in various disciplines. Graduates represented 34 states, Washington, D.C., and several foreign countries, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, among others. The programs with the most graduates at Scranton were the master of business administration, occupational therapy, educational administration, curriculum and instruction and human resources.

The University also introduced a new tradition at the ceremony inspired by a long-standing practice in the military used to signify unit membership and affiliation. Graduates were presented with Coins of Excellence by Scranton’s Alumni Society. The coins are meant to encourage graduates to follow the Jesuit tradition to be “men and women for and with others” and “to go forth and set the world on fire” and solidify their affiliation with the University.

Kathleen Curry Santora, Esq. ’80, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), served as the principal speaker. She also received an honorary degree from the University at the ceremony.

A native of Hazleton and a first-generation college graduate, she reflected on her education at The University of Scranton, its Jesuit tradition and faculty members, like history professor Michael

DeMichele, Ph.D., and the late Edward Gannon, S.J., who made a difference in her life. She also talked about characteristics that would help the graduates be successful in life: resilience and gratitude.

“In part resilience leads naturally to gratitude,” said Santora, discussing three characteristics of resilience: accepting reality; believing life is meaningful; and being able to improvise. “You can only accept reality if you can be grateful for what you have, rather than what you want. You can only embrace life’s meaning when you embrace gratitude for the people around you and the life you have. And, you are better able to improvise when you appreciate life’s tools that are right in front of you as a means to achieve excellence.”

University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., also addressed the graduates and their guests. Degrees were conferred by Father Quinn upon candidates presented by 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; and Brian P. Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also speaking at the ceremony were Joseph H. Dreisbach, Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Lisa LoBasso, Ed.D., assistant director online and off-campus programs; (ret.) Col. Richard H. Breen, Jr. ’77, Alumni Society president; and Patrick Rogers, S.J., executive director of The Jesuit Center.

Graduate students were honored for academic achievement in their specific academic area. Outstanding Academic Awards were presented to Andrea Schall Mantione, Luzerne, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Katelyn Elizabeth Moyer, Allentown, Doctor of Physical Therapy. Outstanding Academic Awards for master’s level programs were presented to the following graduates in the programs as listed: Ahmed Eizah H. Almalki, Scranton, management information systems; Benjamin Joseph Arn, Boardman, Ohio, operations management; Alysha M. Bixler, Williamstown, clinical mental health counseling; Erin E. Casey, Hatfield, accounting; Kristen Nicole Coblentz, Valencia, California, healthcare management/operations management; Ryan Michael Darmody, Portland, Oregon, educational administration; Heather De Haas, West Deptford, New Jersey, curriculum and instruction; Nadia L. Dunn, Warwick, international business; Amanda Marie Ettinger, Scranton, family nurse practitioner; Kaylene Ammerette Falco, Dupont, school counseling; Matthew James Frutchey, South, Abington Township, secondary education; Christina M. Gavalas, Franklin Square, New York, occupational therapy; Maher A. Ghazzawi, Scranton, finance; Blythe Elizabeth Golosky, Scranton, operations management/marketing; Emily Ann Goss, Morristown, New Jersey, special education; Deborah A. Laudenslager, Palmyra, general business administration; David Martino, Winfield, theology; Jamie Lynn Mizerak, Endwell, New York, health administration; Jillian Obuhosky Riccardo, Pittston, clinical chemistry; Matthew James Pawelski, Milford, accountancy; Caleigh Nicole Pedriani, Hazleton, enterprise resources planning; Mia T. Robb, Clarks Summit, biochemistry; Luke Anthony Vitagliano, Arvada, Colorado, rehabilitation counseling; Daniel Webb, Moosic, chemistry; and Eric A. Zielinski, Old Forge, software engineering. An archived recording of the ceremony can be seen at

Hazleton native Kathleen Curry Santora, Esq. ’80, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), served as the principal speaker and received an honorary degree from The University of Scranton at their graduate commencement ceremony. From left: University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.: Santora; and Lawrence R. Lynch, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Alexander J. Arrow, Scranton, and Jordan Cominsky, Royersford, await the graduate commencement ceremony to begin.

From left: Matthew F. Donaldson, Haddonfield, New Jersey; Travis J. Fahey, Nutley, New Jersey; Shannon C. Gilman, Plymouth Meeting; Jane Grenaldo, Washington, D.C.; and Coleen Marie Joyce, Glenside, in the University’s Loyola Science Center preparing for the graduate commencement ceremony to begin.

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