Penn State announces fall 2013 commencement events and speakers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall Penn State expects to award approximately 5,133 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 263 associate, 3,736 baccalaureate, 919 master’s, 12 law and 203 doctoral degrees, bringing the University’s number of graduates to an estimated total of more than 726,800.

At University Park, 10 students are expected to receive associate degrees, while 2,662 will be awarded baccalaureate degrees. Approximately 715 master’s degree students are expected to graduate, as are 203 doctoral degree candidates.

All figures listed are estimates as of Dec. 2.

Following is a compilation of commencement ceremonies and speaker information for Penn State's 24 locations. Additional information about University Park commencement is available online at

Penn State Abington
10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Athletic Building
Speaker: Lt. Col.  Mack Brooks (Ret.) ’69
Brooks is a highly decorated retired Army officer who attended Abington (then known as Ogontz) and completed his degree in political science at University Park in 1969. He has served on the Abington College Alumni Society Board and is now a member of the Abington College Advisory Board. Brooks has been a leader in establishing a scholarship for the Abington ROTC. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, multiple Bronze Star awards, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Ranger Tab and the Parachutist Badge.

Penn State Altoona
11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Jaffa Shrine
Speaker: Kenneth Womack
Womack is the senior associate dean for Academic Affairs at Penn State Altoona and the Penn State laureate for the 2013-14 academic year. He also is author of three novels and author and editor of numerous works of fiction.

Penn State Beaver
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Auditorium, Student Union Building, Monaca
Speaker: Ted Froats Jr. ’11
Froats is a senior public affairs specialist, news director and acting spokesperson for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a $60 billion federal agency. He works with the Departments of Education and Transportation, Congress and the White House to coordinate national outreach campaigns, such as the Fatherhood Initiative and Universal Preschool. Froats also managed the agency’s media relations during the governmental sequestration, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and the question of welfare reform.

Penn State Berks
7:30 pm. Dec. 20, Beaver Community Center, Reading
Speaker: Peter D. Barbey
Barbey worked in banking, retail — he operated and owned bookstores — and commercial real estate prior to becoming president and CEO of The Reading Eagle Company. He is the great, great grandson of Jesse Hawley and Kate Ritter, who founded and first published the first Reading Eagle in 1868 out of the Eagle Bookstore on Penn Street. Barbey serves on the Reading Chamber of Commerce as well as the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation. He has served on multiple charitable and nonprofit boards, including as president of the Arizona Council for the Humanities, appointed by governor of Arizona, and as a member of the advisory board of the University of Arizona Press in Tucson, Ariz. 

Penn State Brandywine
10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 20, Commons Building Gymnasium
Speaker: Julie Gallagher
Gallagher, an associate professor of history, is a published author, human rights activist and the Rosenberg Career Development Professor at Penn State Brandywine. She serves as a legislative coordinator for Amnesty International in Pennsylvania and has monitored elections for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia and Belarus. In 2012, Gallagher published the book "Black Women and Politics in New York City" (University of Illinois Press).

Penn State Dickinson School of Law
no fall commencement

Penn State DuBois
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Hiller Building Auditorium
Speaker: Robert Loeb
Loeb, the 2013 DuBois Educational Foundation’s Educator of the Year, is an associate professor of biology and forestry and teaches introductory biology, ethnobotany and biogeography at Penn State DuBois. His work on the reform of collegiate biology teaching includes the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences-sponsored Evolution Education Across the Life Sciences Project and the National Science Foundation-sponsored Biobuilders Consortium, BioQuest Consortium and Open Science Network in Ethnobiology. He also serves as the academic advisor for biology students, assisting them with scheduling classes and providing career and graduate school guidance.

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Junker Center
Speaker: Michael E. Brown
Brown is an associate professor of management at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. His research and teaching interests include business ethics, leadership and negotiation strategies.

Penn State Fayette
no fall commencement

Penn State Great Valley
no fall commencement

Penn State Greater Allegheny
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Wunderley Gymnasium
Speaker: Rich Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald took office as Allegheny County executive in 2012.  In 1999, he was elected for one of the district council seats on the newly formed County Council.  He held the seat for 12 years and was elected council president four times before leaving to run for the office of county executive. In this role, he is focused on the economic development of the region and job creation. One of his interests is to make government more effective and efficient, and to make changes to ensure that county government is responsive to taxpayers and protects their interests.

Penn State Harrisburg
9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Giant Center, Hershey
Speaker: Barry Schoch ’82
Schoch is Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011.  For the 15 years prior to becoming secretary of transportation, Schoch worked for McCormick, Taylor & Associates as vice president and manager of their Harrisburg office transportation department. Schoch previously served as the president of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association and as the chair of Pennsylvania Consulting Engineers transportation committee and the Design Professionals Coalition Transportation Committee. He graduated from Penn State in 1982 with a degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer.

Penn State Hazleton
no fall commencement

Penn State Hershey College of Medicine
no fall commencement

Penn State Lehigh Valley
no fall commencement

Penn State Mont Alto
no fall commencement

Penn State New Kensington
10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Forum Theatre
Speaker: Lisa Veitch ’83
Veitch is a research staff member for the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Va. As a weapons system analyst, Veitch provides independent technical assessments on weapons, technology, and policies that are supported by the Defense Department. The former campus student holds a bachelor’s degree in ceramic science and engineering from Penn State and a doctorate in materials engineering from Purdue.

Penn State Schuylkill
no fall commencement

Penn State Shenango
7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20, campus auditorium
Speaker: Cassandra Neely
Neely is a 1972 graduate of Penn State where she received her degree in liberal arts. She is owner of the Cassandra Neely law firm in Clarion, Pa.

Penn State University Park:

Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony
5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel

Undergraduate students (baccalaureate and associate degrees)
Saturday, Dec. 21, Bryce Jordan Center
Speaker: Rodney Erickson, Penn State president
9 a.m.: College of Agricultural Sciences, Smeal College of Business, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Information Sciences and Technology
12:30 p.m.: College of Arts and Architecture, College of Communications, College of Education, College of Health and Human Development, College of the Liberal Arts, College of Nursing, Eberly College of Science

The Graduate School
4:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, Bryce Jordan Center
Speaker: Neil Sharkey, interim vice president for Research, Penn State

Penn State Wilkes-Barre
no fall commencement

Penn State Worthington Scranton
no fall commencement

Penn State York
6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Pullo Family Performing Arts Center
Speaker: Ted Geiselman ’77
Geiselman is  the president of DMW Automation in Chicago, Ill., and Weiler Labeling Systems (WLS) in Moorestown, N.J.  In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of Ping4, Inc., an early stage technology company based in Nashua, N.H., who has developed a new hyperlocal mobile alert system.  Geiselman holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State and did the first two years of study at Penn State York.

Pennsylvania College of Technology
11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Community Arts Center, Williamsport
Speaker: Gerri F. Luke
Student speaker: Eric Jay Palanko
Luke is the 2013 Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award recipient and a professor of business administration/management and marketing. Palanko is a legal assistant-paralegal studies student from Latrobe.

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Last Updated May 12, 2016