Pre-commencement ceremony honors nine student leaders
Nine graduating students, including two who missed their May commencement to winningly represent Pennsylvania College of Technology in national competition, were honored Friday night during the Excellence in Student Leadership and Service Awards ceremony.
"This event kicks off our commencement weekend and allows us to celebrate some of our most exceptional students for their high academic achievement, quality leadership and commitment to service," Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management and associate provost, told those gathered for dinner in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. "You are in for an evening of astonishing stories, and we are so glad you have joined us."
That promise did not go unfulfilled during dessert, when faculty and staff presenters – readily forgiven when their enthusiastic endorsements blew past the prescribed two minutes at the lectern – waxed emotionally about the students standing beside them.
"When we say that we are so incredibly proud of the students receiving awards this evening, that would be an understatement," Strickland noted. "You have astonished us with your academic achievements, and amazed us with your contributions to your fellow classmates and community members. The impact of your leadership is more far-reaching than you are likely aware, and, for these reasons, you stand out above your peers."
Four collegewide awards were presented by Nesli Alp, vice president for academic affairs/provost, and Michael J. Reed, college president, both of whom recently assumed their new positions. (A comprehensive list of all of the semester's commencement awards, which reflect excellence in a variety of specific academic areas, is also available on PCToday.)
Lewis H. Bardo Memorial Award – presented to a graduate who exemplifies the ideals of Lewis H. Bardo (devotion to duty, helpfulness to others, friendliness and high ideals)
Bryan Marcel Bilbao, Old Forge, physician assistant studies (introduced by Tina R. Strayer, coordinator, physician assistant studies)
Brooke Morgan Confer, Howard, physician assistant studies (introduced by David S. Richards, professor of physics); Ryan T. Flynn, Clarks Summit, heavy construction equipment technology: operator and technician emphases (introduced by Justin W. Beishline, assistant dean of diesel technology and natural resources); and Dhruv Singh, Dayton, New Jersey, automotive technology management (introduced by Angela S. Frontz, coordinator of tutoring).
Singh and Dakota C. Harrison (see below) are May 2022 graduates who were unable to attend commencement and award ceremonies in the spring, as they were competing in an Baja SAE competition in Tennessee. The team captured a first-place finish that day, among competitors from more than 70 top institutions, and went on to win a second three weeks later in New York state.
Board of Directors' Award – presented for achievement under exceptional conditions
Robert Shawn Flannery, Ashland, physician assistant studies (introduced by Dawn M. Dickey, director of disability and access resources); and Kaitlyn Marie Premus, Dallas, applied health studies: radiography concentration (introduced by by Christine L. Eckenrod, director of radiography)
President's Award – presented for leadership and service to the college
Sydney A. Bruno, Williamsport, physical therapist assistant (introduced by Victoria Hurwitz, director of physical therapist assistant); Angelyvette Santana Rosado, Scranton, radiography (also introduced by Eckenrod); and Dakota C. Harrison, Lewisberry, automated manufacturing technology and manufacturing engineering technology.
Harrison also received a Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour Award for Leadership & Service to Penn College; formerly known as the Penn College Award, the honor was renamed as a tribute to Gilmour shortly before her June retirement.
Near the end of the awards banquet, the graduates were presented with gifts welcoming them into the Penn College Alumni Association.
"This is a large family," explained Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations/chief philanthropy officer. "We have 65,569 alumni from Penn College and our predecessor institutions spread across the nation and around the world. This means that no matter where you go in your personal and career endeavors, there is likely a fellow graduate around you."
She invited the newest members to remain connected – encouraging them to return for Wildcat Weekend (Oct. 21-23), to advocate for current and future students through the Alumni Tomorrow Makers program and as industry mentors, and to avail themselves of lifetime services through the Center for Career Design.
Photos by Tom Wilson, writer/editor-PCToday