DALLAS TWP. — Missing ethics in a technology-driven world, a nod to a Marvel movie and a record-breaking gift.
They were all part of Misericordia University’s spring commencement ceremony at the Anderson Center on Saturday.
The school celebrated 330 undergraduates and 122 graduates earning advanced degrees during separate ceremonies, while also honoring two keynote speakers.
Wilkes-Barre native and 1965 Misericordia graduate Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis is now president at the Community College of Baltimore County. She gave the keynote address to undergraduates, often comparing the 1960s to present-day America.
Kurtinitis explained to the graduates that when she graduated and became a teacher at what was then the start of a community college, America was in the midst of the Vietnam War and at a point of a profound change, or “fertile verge.”
Now, she believes America has once again reached a fertile verge, and Saturday’s graduates can make a profound change within its digital fingerprint.
“Facebook has shown us the dangers of using technology without ethics. We are a fifth of the way through the 21st century, and we have yet to create a mature code of digital ethics,” she said. “That’s so frightening, but it’s also heady and exciting.”
“Somebody needs to press the reset button — and I would say that someone is you,” she continued.
Kurtinitis ended her address by explaining the need to create a “technologically literate but humane citizenry” and called upon the graduating class of 2018 as the leaders to incite such a change.
Following the keynote, student speaker and Hazleton resident Tara Koskulitz addressed her peers by comparing her time at the university to that of the Marvel movie “Thor: Ragnarok.” She continued by saying that like the movie, it is the people — her peers, the faculty and more — at Misericordia who have created an experience that has allowed her to grow and flourish.
“Misericordia University is really about its people, and I believe that thanks to those people we have each been given the foundation we need in order to go out to wherever we may be headed and continue to learn and grow,” she said.
Following the awarding of diplomas, officers of the student class presented university President Dr. Thomas Botzman with the class gift. Class president Michael Dubinski announced the Class of 2018 was marking a first by presenting a scholarship endowment for one of the university’s primary programs.
Dubinski and his fellow class officers presented a check to Botzman totaling over $7,000 for the Misericordia University Bourger Women with Children Program.
“Now it’s official. In addition to hosting the first-ever endowed scholarship at commencement, our class has the highest participation rate than any other class — ever,” he said.
The program, one of only eight nationwide, provides housing and support for academically qualified single mothers and their children living at poverty levels while they work to earn a degree.