Spring commencement was celebrated at Penn State Greater Allegheny on Saturday, May 19 in Wunderely Gymnasium. Chancellor Curtiss E. Porter presided. Baccalaureate degrees were conferred upon 49 students.
Student marshals for the campus baccalaureate degrees were Andrea Mirro (Business), Leslie A. DeZorzi (Communication), Aaron D. Mazek (Information Sciences & Technology), and R. Kumar Palepu (Applied Psychology). Student marshals carry the highest GPA of all graduates within that degree program.
Several students also were honored with Academic Excellence Awards: Jeremy A. Brubaker, David M. Crouch, Leslie A. Dezorzi, Michael C. Holland, Aaron D. Mazek, Andrea J. Mirro, R. Kumar Palepu, Nathan R. Polnyj, James W. Strychalski, Kacie L. Thomas, Julie A. Toman. These awards are given to students achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.60 or higher who have attended Penn State Greater Allegheny for four or more semesters and who attend the graduation ceremony.
Jay Breckenridge, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, performed his duties for the first time as campus marshal. Dr. Breckenridge has 36 years of service to the University. Program Marshals included Michelle Hough, Assistant Professor of Business Administration; Delia Conti, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences; Galen Grimes, Assistant Professor of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), and Margaret L. Signorella, Director of Academic Affairs and Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies
The keynote speaker was Penn State Greater Allegheny Alumnus James M. ?Jay? Weitzel, Jr. Weitzel received a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts from Penn State in 1974 and a master of arts degree from Duquesne University, where he was a graduate teaching assistant. He earned his juris doctor degree from the Catholic University of America, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He is a member of the bar in Virginia and the District of Columbia.
He attended Penn State Greater Allegheny as a freshman and sophomore from September 1970 to June 1972. He co-founded the current campus radio station and was program director of the station. He also was a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), serving as the student representative to the Faculty Senate and was appointed to the Campus Supreme Court. He was the 1972 campus nominee and the Southwest Regional Finalist for the Eric A. and Josephine Walker Award. At University Park campus he was a member of the SGA and a staff columnist for the Daily Collegian.
Weitzel currently is senior counsel with Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he serves as legal advisor to the Civilian Agencies group of Northrop Grumman?s Information Technology sector. He formerly was deputy general counsel of Litton PRC, Inc. From 1986 to 1998, he practiced with the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where he specialized in government contract law and related litigation. He lectures and has written on government contract cost accounting issues and is a vice-chair of the Accounting, Costs and Pricing Subcommittee of the American Bar Association Section on Public Contract Law. Before entering legal practice, he worked for eight years as a contract negotiator for the United States Department of Defense.
An active alumnus, Weitzel has been a regular attendee at campus events and supporter of campus initiatives. His gift of $25,000 during the Grand Destiny capital campaign allowed the campus to name the radio station booth in the Student Community Center in his honor. He has been a lead supporter of the campus? All That?s Jazz event which raises money for the Penn State Greater Allegheny Scholarship Fund and a supporter of the Campus Fund.
He also has served in a number of volunteer community roles. He has been President of the Board of Directors of Residential Youth Services, a community-based non-profit corporation that provides housing and other programs for teenagers who are at risk because they are abused, neglected or abandoned. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Westmoreland-Fayette Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a past Commodore of the Sailing Club of Washington, D.C., and is a sailing instructor in the club.