Commencement returns to campus and reintroduces the use of bagpipers.

Last updated: May 18. 2013 11:08PM - 2939 Views
By Jon O'Connell

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Wilkes University 2013 Graduates

Doctor of Education —Stephen Cheskiewicz, Monroe Township; Blake Mackesy, Shavertown; Kimberly Niezgoda, Dallas

Doctor of Nursing Practice —Eugene Lucas, Hunlock Creek

Doctor of Pharmacy — George Behlke, Wyoming; Cara Belles, Shickshinny; Shawn Bookwalter, Forty Fort; Christina Breznak, Hazleton; Bradley Dudeck, Hazle Township; Stephen Gruver, Wilkes-Barre; Marissa Harrison, Shavertown; William Johns, Pringle; Margaret Labuz, Drums; Michael Lanczak, Kingston; Stephen Rozanski, Mountain Top; Sophia Rynkiewicz, Nanticoke; Nadine Shickora, McAdoo; Morgan Thomas, Dallas; Daniel Troynacki, Pittston; James Walker, Wilkes Barre; Lauren Yurko, Dallas

Master of Business Administration — Kristen Baumes, Hughestown; Deanna Drako, Wilkes Barre; Joseph Gabrielle, Mountain Top; Dawn Gillam, Forty Fort; Kelly Kavitski, Freeland; Marena Piccillo, Pittston; Lindsay Wolcott, Harding; Shaokang Yang, Wilkes Barre

Master of Fine Arts —Jaclyn Fowler, Drifton; Erin Miele, Dupont

Master of Science — Mohammed Alamani, Wilkes-Barre; Ibrahim Almardumah, Wilkes Barre; Meshari Alnashwan, Wilkes-Barre; Huda Alrefaei, Edwardsville; Nawaf Altamimi, Kingston; Yehia Alzawaidah, Wilkes-Barre; Christopher Antall, Dallas; Jaime Baldoni, Wilkes-Barre; Michael Chmiola, Hanover Township; Kelly Connors, Pittston Twp; Charles DeAngelo, Hazle Township; Jennifer Decker, Hanover Twp; Joseph Dubinski, Hanover Township; Amber Force, Nescopeck; Jennifer Frusciante, Edwardsville; Christina Galella, Harding; Shawn Gibbons, Yatesville; Catherine Hauze, Wapwallopen; Stephen Horensky, Hanover Twp; Michelle Hull, Wilkes Barre; Carinne Karlick, Freeland; Songpo Li, Wilkes-Barre; Jared Lukowski, Nanticoke; Karen MacDougall, Hunlock Creek; Ashley Marsicano, Conyngham; Ahmed Mohamed, Edwardsville; Daniel Natitus, Trucksville; Nichole Oliveri, Avoca; Ali Rostami Shahrbabaki, Wilkes Barre; Janet Selden, Duryea; Shanon Sitoski, Drums; Timothy Thomas, Drums; Jessica Trescavage, Avoca; Thomas Wychock, Wilkes Barre; Natasha Young, Drifton

Bachelor of Arts — Heather Abrams, Wyoming; Saud Alsubaie, Wilkes Barre; Karley Atiyeh, Wilkes Barre; Michael Bauman, Forty Fort; Channing Biggers, Pittston; Luke Brady, West Pittston; Jonathan Casey, Warrior Run; Cierra Cellerari, Wilkes-Barre; Edwin Colon, Wilkes-Barre; Amanda Coombs, Hanover Township; Theodore Dennis, Larksville; Jennifer Earley, Hanover Township; Lyndsay Ellis, Shavertown; Amanda Fasciana, West Pittston; Erin Gallagher, Kingston; Claire Gothreau, Mountain Top; Cara Goughenour, Sugarloaf; Johnathan Haydock, Nanticoke; Broc Hazlet, Pittston Twp; Brittany Hess, Wilkes-Barre; Samantha Hunter, Hanover Township; Sarah Jones, Trucksville; Abigail Kaster, Mountain Top; Jill King, Wilkes Barre; Kayla Kinney, Hazleton; Alyssa Klinitski, Hanover Twp; Alyson Lark, Wilkes-Barre; Courtney Leighton, Wilkes-Barre; Jaymelyn Lendacky, Wilkes-Barre; Stephen Morrissey, Nanticoke; Erin Mras, Hunlock Creek; Ashley Mundenar, Pittston; Meagan O’Connell, Mountain Top; Joshua Olzinski, Nanticoke; Todd Oravic, Ashley; Morgan Palermo, Drums; Angela Palmerio, Wilkes-Barre; Gena Panatieri, Wilkes-Barre; Jessalyn Paveletz, Hanover Township; Ethan Pidcock, Pringle; Brian Redmond, Shavertown; Alexandra Roman, Nuangola; Kelci Scirrotto, Freeland; Robert Sebia, Laflin; Amanda Shonk, Wilkes-Barre; Nathan Sickle, Wilkes-Barre; Lindsey Smith, Wilkes Barre; Michael Smith, Plains; William Thomas, Nanticoke; Joseph Waichulis, Nanticoke; Christopher Waugh, Nanticoke; Stephanie Wilkie, Wilkes-Barre; Ryan Wood, Kingston; Emily Yuscavage, Mountain Top; Justine Zaleski, Avoca; Aubrey Zenda, Wilkes-Barre; Ashley Zerfoss, Shavertown

Bachelor of Business Administration — George Brady, Swoyersville; Samuel Brand, Wilkes-Barre; Tyler Breznitsky, Freeland; Joseph Feibus, Wilkes-Barre; Angelina Genelow, Wapwallopen; Megan Kazmerski, Kingston; Carmen Lopresto, Pittston Twp.; Ann Sadusky, Exeter; Scott Skammer, Dallas; Nicholas Sobeck, Trucksville

Bachelor of Science — Moataz Aldaraweish, Wilkes Barre; Kelsey Augustine, Shavertown; Kristy Barner, Wilkes Barre; Caela Bernecker, Wilkes Barre; Kaitlin Bowalick, Nanticoke; Matthew Boyle, Shavertown; Kelly Bridger, Wyoming; James Carty, Swoyersville; Timothy Cheung, Kingston; Breanna Conklin, Edwardsville; Cassandra Cronin, Edwardsville; Kelli Cummings, Kingston; Alexa Curvey, Freeland; Eric Danko, Dallas; Alison Duda, Wilkes-Barre; Joshua Elmore, Shickshinny; Lori Fehlinger, Nanticoke; Jennifer Foy, Wilkes-Barre; Mary Foy, Wilkes-Barre; Marjorie Gelso, Swoyersville; Sarah-Jane Gerstman, Kingston; Brittani Giampietro, Dallas; Ryan Grabinski, Nanticoke; Thomas Heiser, Hanover Twp; Katie Jescavage, Plains; Taylor LeTourneau, Hanover Twp; Ian McDevitt, Wilkes Barre; Thomas Mike, Shavertown; Noelle Miller, Shavertown; Michael Moody, Larksville; Trang Nguyen, Wilkes-Barre; Matthew Parmenteri, Larksville; Gina Passetti, Nanticoke; Bhumi Patel, Mountain Top; Thomas Pavlick, Hunlock Creek; Amanda Pawlowski, Nanticoke; Ryan Pearson, Hunlock Creek; Charles Reilly, Forty Fort; Theresa Rider, Kingston; Barbara Shaver, Kingston; Patrick Shea, Pittston; Rachel Sluhocki, Wilkes Barre; Gregory Snyder, Swoyersville; Kyle Stair, Hanover Townshi; Lewis Stalbird, Duryea; Michael Stone, Nanticoke; John Sweeney, Shavertown; Christa Tutella, Wilkes-Barre; Amber Uhrin, Drums; Crystal Wagner, Edwardsville; Nicholas Watkins, Courtdale; Ryan Weber, Wilkes Barre; Jessica Weron, Nanticoke; David Wodyka, Plains

WILKES-BARRE — Dressed in vibrant Gaelic attire, a burly drum major towered over the rest of the Wilkes University commencement procession marching through downtown Wilkes-Barre.

He and the rest of the Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band led the graduation march onto campus Saturday as part of the ceremony’s return there after six years of off-campus commencements held at the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.

This graduation was Wilkes President Patrick Leahy’s first spring commencement as the university’s leader. He inherited the years-long initiative to bring it back to campus and was glad graduates could seal their education where it began, he said.

In his welcoming remarks, Leahy used the word “ritual” to describe the proceedings. Undoubtedly, old-school traditions on home turf sweetened the day for many veteran Wilkes educators.

“Today we return to a centuries-old ritual,” said Leahy, “… to celebrate a new beginning, not an old ending.”

It was unclear from where the bagpiper tradition comes. But arena-housed ceremonies did not accommodate the marching musicians, said Paul Adams, the school’s vice president of student affairs. He said when graduates marched through the campus years ago, bagpipers always led the procession.

Leahy said by holding the university’s graduate and undergraduate ceremonies at separate times Saturday, they were able to fit all graduates and their cheering supporters in the Arnaud C. Marts Sports & Conference Center on South Franklin Street.

Doctor of Pharmacy graduate Kim Polovitch of Clarks Summit said the split ceremony was better for everyone because Saturday’s 746 total graduates did not have to take their victory strut across the stage in the same ceremony, shortening proceedings.

Polovitch already has a job lined up with a Rite Aid Pharmacy in the Lehigh Valley, she said. “I just feel fortunate,” Polovitch said about her degree. “We’re lucky to have a major that has a lot of job opportunities. That’s not the case for some people.”

Later in the day, as the undergraduate class entered the gymnasium to a visibly more rambunctious crowd than their morning co-celebrators, the school’s last three Pharmaceutical Science students, Andrew Trout, Jessica Khalil and Krista Zawistowski, walked together at the procession’s end.

They said because of shrinking participation in their program of choice, the school has removed it from the course offerings; however, the three were able to finish their studies. The friends laughed about things that probably once frustrated them, such as back-to-back advanced classes and the institution’s phasing out of a program in which they were invested.

They also remembered an internship they shared at a pharmaceutical company. “We lived together for two months. We got to be family,” said Khalil, a New Jersey native.

In his commencement speech, 1972 Wilkes grad Ron Rittenmeyer — one-time CEO of Electronic Data Systems, a technology company that eventually merged with Hewlett-Packard — reminded the graduates that their education means nothing if it is not used to guide others.

“Knowledge that is used to inspire the intellectual advancement of others is much better than just giving the answer,” Rittenmeyer said.

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