WILKES-BARRE -- It was an exciting occasion, not only for the 450 Wilkes University students who received graduate and undergraduates degrees Sunday, but also for new university President Patrick Leahy as well.
"I've been to seven graduation ceremonies in the last year, but this is the first time as president I will be conferring degrees," he said.
Leahy joined Wilkes as the sixth president in July.
"This ceremony will always be special to me."
Leahy commended the graduates for their hard work and wished them well.
"Today, you take your place among tens of thousands of Wilkes alumni who are making a difference in the world. I know you are ready to take on the challenges in life," he said. "Know we are proud to call you our own."
In her address to her fellow graduates, Susan Allen said she appreciated the flexible class schedules that enable students to work around jobs and family life. She also recognized the personal sacrifices that are made while earning a degree.
"A child doesn't understand why mommy and daddy have school when they're off for the summer, or when a spouse has to attend functions without you because you have a paper to finish," she said.
Commencement speaker Donald Jacobs described how technological advances have changed every aspect of our lives within the last two decades.
Jacobs is the CEO of 3rd Learning, an education development organization that serves more than 500,000 teachers and education leaders around the world.
He is also the founder of the award-winning Center for the Applied Technologies in Education at the University of Buffalo, where his team created educational technology projects for K-12 schools.
Jacobs asked the class if they knew how many websites were in existence in 1992.
"There were 50 in the entire world," he said. "Eight years later, there were 30 million. Now we have more than a half billion websites on the planet Earth."
The ways to deal with shifting changes brought about by globalization, Jacobs said, is to embrace competition with other countries but also work together to solve problems.
"In times of rapid change in the world, what we need to do is question everything," he said. "I encourage and implore you to ask the hard questions as members of this great global village."
Doctor of Education
Thomas Duffy, Dallas; Melissa Sgroi, Dallas
Master of Arts
Sam Chiarelli, Pittston; Kevin Conner, Wilkes-Barre; Dana Miller, Kingston; Dawn Zera, Forty Fort
Master of Business Administration
Stella Bielonwu, Wilkes-Barre; Dina Gaughan, Wilkes-Barre; Amy Hetro, Wyoming; Jason Jolley, Dallas; David Meholchick, Dallas; Arielle Phillips, Hunlock Creek; Ilisha Sukaloski, Wilkes-Barre; John Welgosh, Wilkes Barre; Stephanie White, Wyoming
Lauren Stahl, Forty Fort; Matthew Wilkie, Wilkes-Barre
Susan Allen, Dallas; Khalid Al-Maghayreh, Wilkes Barre; James Anthony, West Pittston; Kara Anthony, West Pittston; Christina Bason, Nescopeck; Robert Bottger, Wilkes-Barre; Elaine Burg, Kingston; Cecelia Candelario, Harveys Lake; Nicole Chismar, Courtdale; Jill Chocallo, Dallas; Jennifer Denion, Freeland; Zahra Elhusseini, Wilkes Barre; Katie Finnegan, Dallas; Wendy Gaughan, Drums; Jason Keown, Dallas; Colleen King, Conyngham; Melissa Klimek, Kingston; Bobbie Ann Kufro, Freeland; David Lewis, Wilkes-Barre; Gabrielle Lizbinski, Drums; Sarah Lloyd, Kingston; Teresa Marszalek, Sugarloaf; Vanessa Menendez, Bear Creek Twp; Gary Mikulski, Larksville; Loni Morgan, Ashley; Hussam Namanqani, Kingston; Jeffrey Ney, Wilkes-Barre; Molly Ney, Wilkes-Barre; Nicole Oravic, Mountain Top; Jason Papadoplos, Plymouth; Sarah Richards, Drums; Amanda Schraeder, Glen Lyon; Cassidy Shults, Sugarloaf; Melissa Smigielski, Harveys Lake; Christopher Spinucci, Sugar Notch; Michele Staruch, Freeland; Elizabeth Straukas, White Haven; Emilee Strubeck, Pittston; Tracy Wagner, Wyoming
Peter Lopez, Wilkes-Barre; Joseph Waichulis, Nanticoke
Bachelor of Business Administration
Ahmed Alahmed, Wilkes Barre; Michael Daniels, Wapwallopen
Bader Alqahtani, Wilkes-Barre; Anne Baerwald, Dallas; Ebrahim Brnawi, Wilkes Barre; Brittany Maloney, Wilkes-Barre; Rebecca Orehotsky, Dallas; Katryna Reilly, Pittston; Leigh Thomas, Mountain Top; Kathryn Welsh, Mountain Top; Aaron Wolman, Shavertown; John Woodring, Hazleton