Lock Haven University held its final winter commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 16 in the Thomas Field House. Approximately 218 graduate and undergraduate students participated in the ceremony, which also was the last ceremony Dr. Michael Fiorentino Jr., LHU president, will preside over before his retirement in March 2018.
Dr. Donna Wilson, LHU provost and executive vice president, welcomed the guests and a greeting from the faculty was given by Dr. Matthew Girton, president of LHU APSCUF and professor of communication. Fiorentino presented the President’s Medal to Jo Ann Bowes, vice president of the Lock Haven Fraternal Order of Eagles, who accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
The student speaker was graduating senior, Valeria Andrea Izquierdo Zambrano, an applied computer science and information systems major and international student from Venezuela. She spoke to her peers about the importance of their many experiences during their time at LHU, and stressed that each one has helped them grow as individuals.
“Today we are celebrating the beginning – not the end,” Zambrano said. “This accomplishment is part of our legacy. … Don’t settle for what you’ve already learned, keep learning and dreaming. … We made it!”
Keynote speaker was Cynthia D. Shapira, chair for the Pennsylvania’s State System of High Education Board of Governors. She assured the students of her certainty that they will be successful in their chosen careers and urged them to bring their heart, passion, and skills they have developed to the world.
She shared a favorite quote with the audience from Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” Shapira told the students to follow Hillel’s words and to be good to themselves, so they can in turn be good to others – understand yourself, have confidence, and love yourself, she said.
“Approach your lives with gusto,” Shapira added. “It’s so much better to jump in than to sit on the sidelines of life. … Go have fun and savor this moment.”
Following the ceremony, all graduates and their families were invited to a reception in the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center.
The ceremony was the final winter commencement at LHU. All future ceremonies will be held in the spring.
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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