Shane O'Neill of Patterson was among more than 850 bachelor's and associate's degree recipients at its undergraduate commencement on May 26 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre. Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Ph.D. '93, G'93, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, served as principal speaker and received an honorary degree from the University. Honorary degrees were also presented to David and Ann Hawk of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and the Hawk Family Foundation; Rev. Matthew Ruhl, S.J., pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize; and Rev. Brendan Lally, S.J. '70, rector of the Jesuit Community and chaplain at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.
O'Neill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Scranton.
Graduates receiving degrees at the ceremony include those who completed their program requirements in August and December of 2018, as well as January and May of 2019.
Members of the University's class of 2019 represent 14 states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C. The class includes the recipient a Fulbright scholarship, which is the U.S. government's premier scholarship program for overseas graduate study, research and teaching.
Undergraduate majors with the most graduates are nursing, biology, accounting, exercise science and occupational therapy.
In her address to the graduates, Dr. Cummings said "My prayer is that you, as Scranton graduates, will always seek to do more. My prediction is that your most profound encounters with the human and the divine await you in the places that feel the least familiar. My promise is that our church, our nation, our world and our planet are going to need every ounce of your passion, your talents, your creativity in the years to come. My plea is for you to take what you learned while studying in these mountains, and go forth determined to move metaphorical ones. The best is yet to come."
Also at the ceremony, Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of the University, addressed the graduates and their guests. In addition, Kara Ann Romanowski '19, a biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Kingston, provided student remarks for her class. Also speaking at the ceremony were Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Charles Kratz, dean of the library and information fluency; Michael K. Short '99, Alumni Society president; Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies; Murli Rajan, Ph.D., interim dean of the Kania School of Management; and Brian P. Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, provided the Invocation.