MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Families, faculty and staff watched as 27 individuals crossed the stage during Penn State Greater Allegheny’s commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 21, in the Wunderley Gymnasium. Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Jacqueline Edmondson presided over the ceremony in which students received degrees in administration of justice, biobehavioral health, business, communications, criminology, health policy and administration, information sciences and technology, and psychology.
Savanna Simm, who earned a degree in administration of justice, served as the student speaker. Simm acknowledged the impact individuals can make in society and credited Greater Allegheny’s open environment for helping students succeed.
“We can be the change that we wish to see. We are the ones in control of our lives, and we are the ones who are capable of doing remarkable things,” said Simm. “The professors of GA (Greater Allegheny) have given us a window to talk about things like discrimination, explicit bias, politics, the exploitation of the media, faith, economics, appearances and more. It’s this environment that GA has developed that helps us to be open to discussing these issues. I implore you to 'Be Greater' every day because 'We Are' Penn State and 'We Are' change.”
Penn State alumna Jessica Brooks, chief executive officer and executive director of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, delivered the keynote address to the graduating class.
Brooks reminded the graduates that Penn State's iconic "We Are" chant provides an instant connection to every other person who graduated from the University and serves as a source of inspiration for those still in college.
“Find a way to give back, come back, bring value to the campus that has given you so much,“ said Brooks.
She challenged the graduates to understand the responsibility that comes with their Penn State degrees, and to recognize that the responsibility drives them to respond in defining moments.
“Add value everywhere you are,” she said. “You have the power within you. ... Make a difference.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates and guests enjoyed a reception catered by Greater Allegheny‘s Housing and Food Service staff. To watch the graduation ceremony, visit the campus YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK9h8xWz9bs.
Penn State Greater Allegheny's fall 2019 graduates:
Bachelor of arts degree candidates:
Steven Alexander Carter
Anthony Scott III
Jelani J. Griffith
Mhonté Rydell Newsome
Bachelor of science degree candidates:
Administration of Justice
Savanna Lorraine Simm
Andrea Lorraine-June Burroughs
Kristina A. Atherholt
Anthony Fonzi III
Sarah Elise Karabinos
Cameron Blake Urbanus ◊
James Young II
Health Policy and Administration
Deborah L. Spriggs
Information Sciences and Technology
Christian Alan Dinofrio
Radha K. Timsina
◊ Cum Laude Distinction Candidate
** Spring 2020 Graduate Candidate