Seton Hill University Confers Degrees at May Commencement
Seton Hill University graduated 292 students on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at its commencement exercises. Michele Moore Ridge, chair of the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees, presided over the ceremony that was held in the Salvitti Gymnasium of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Center. Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., provost and dean of the faculty, presented the candidates for degrees and President JoAnne Boyle conferred the degrees.
Sister Gertrude Foley, S.C., chair of the Seton Hill Mission Committee of the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees, gave the welcoming remarks. Speaking of the small group of women who founded Seton Hill 90 years ago, Foley said, “Filled with Elizabeth Seton’s spirit of risk-taking grounded in faith, this small band of Sisters of Charity had the courage and foresight to begin this educational adventure, when the Greensburg foundation was not quite 50 years old. Their average age was only about 30 and they had scarcely earned degrees themselves. It is in that spirit of Elizabeth Ann Seton and of those intrepid women religious who followed her that we joyfully take up this legacy.”
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees were conferred upon George Greer, chairman and president of the Eden Hall Foundation, and Joyce Rothermel, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Boyle awarded the honorary degrees saying the lives of the two recipients reflect the passion and values of Seton Hill.
Under Greer’s direction, during the course of the last two decades, the Eden Hall Foundation has helped Seton Hill develop new academic programs and invest in premier technology. Boyle said Greer’s life “embodies what we mean when we say that a Seton Hill education leads to the creation of ethical and productive members of society committed to transforming the world.”
Awarding the honorary degree to Rothermel, Boyle said, “In full measure and more, you have used your gift of intellect, your power of place and your burning sense of justice to restore balance in a world that is often awry and to bring hope to the disenfranchised.”
Rothermel, who served as the keynote commencement speaker, encouraged the graduates to fully engage in life. “While independence is often a goal, the reality is we are interdependent with our fellow citizens of the planet. In the consciousness raising environment you have been a part of on this campus, I know you already know this is true. We must find ways collectively and individually to engage to meet these challenges of our time. Our success or failure depends on us all and impacts us all. Your accomplishments here at Seton Hill University offer hope to all of us.”
Stephanie Isacco, president of the graduating class, gave farewell remarks. She said, “It may seem scary to have to say goodbye to this place, this community that we have become so comfortable in, but Seton Hill has made us who we are and has provided us with valuable tools to take on our journey. The support system of faculty and staff that care so deeply about our well being will always be there in times of need. At this bend in the road, the view is vast and the opportunities are limitless, hazard yet forward.”