The University of Scranton Confers More than 800 Undergraduate Degrees

May 28, 2017

The University of Scranton conferred more than 800 bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at its undergraduate commencement on May 28 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre. James Martin, S.J., New York Times best-selling author and editor-at-large of America magazine, served as principal speaker. He received an honorary degree at the ceremony, as did University of Scranton Professor Emerita Ellen Miller Casey, Ph.D.

Graduates receiving degrees at the ceremony include those who completed their program requirements in August and December of 2016, as well as January and May of 2017. 

Members of the University’s class of 2017 represent 18 states and Washington, D.C. States include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The class also includes the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, which is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program for overseas graduate study, research and teaching. Albena Ivova Gesheva of Scranton won a Fulbright award to Germany. 

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.

Undergraduate majors with the most graduates are nursing, exercise science, biology, occupational therapy and accounting. 

Father Martin in his address said that he was “honored to be recognized by such a distinguished university, and one that has embraced its Jesuit identity so fully.” He said that “one of the greatest things about Scranton, for which you are known in the Jesuit world is the incredible love that Royals have for the school: both current students and alumni.”

Father Martin told graduates the “ten things that I wish I’d known at your age.” His advise included informing members of the class of 2017 that they are not God and this is not heaven.

“Stop trying to do everything, to fix everything in your life and everyone else’s, and to make everything perfect.  You can’t.  Why?  Because you’re not God” said Father Martin. “Try not to expect life to be perfect.  Once you realize that, you’ll be able enjoy life more, you’ll be more grateful.”

Also at the ceremony, Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., addressed the graduates and their guests for the last time as the president of The University of Scranton. His term as Scranton’s 25th president will end on June 1.

“What universities claim to be teaching their students –specifically, to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly –is necessary, but not sufficient, for The University of Scranton.  It is clear to me that our university has asked more of you. You were challenged to make Ignatius’ charge –‘to love and serve in all things’ –your own. This is the ‘value added’ of a Scranton education; and of this, we are rightly proud,” said Father Quinn at the close of his remarks.

In addition to the remarks by Father Martin and Father Quinn, Carson Clabeaux ’17, a biology major from New Woodstock, New York, provided student remarks for his class. Also speaking at the ceremony were Joseph H. Dreisbach, Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Lauren S. Rivera, J.D., associate vice provost for student formation and campus life and dean of students; (ret.) Col. Richard H. Breen, Jr. ’77, Alumni Society president; 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. Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, provided the Invocation.  An archived recording of the ceremony can be seen at

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