John Patrick Cardinal Foley received an honorary degree and shared with the
Class of 2010 his admiration for
St. John Neumann.
Also an honorary degree recipient, John Mullen advised the graduates to "instill passion in whatever you choose to do."
Dr. Mirenda shared an emotional moment with Jeanmarie and Christopher Chase,
who accepteda degree awarded posthumously to their daughter Kelly.
More than 700 families electrified the South Lawn with palpable joy on May 15 as members of the Class of 2010 celebrated the earning of degrees from associate to doctoral. Under clear blue skies on a breezy spring afternoon, Dr. Rosalie Mirenda,
president, and Dr. Gerard O’Sullivan, vice president for academic affairs, presided over Neumann University’s 44th Commencement Exercises to the special delight of the more than 490 students who had earned baccalaureate degrees.
Dr. Mirenda and Jay Devine, chairperson of the board of trustees, awarded honorary degrees to John Patrick Cardinal Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; John Mullen, chief executive officer of Apple Vacations; and Joan Mullen, educator and community servant.
Cardinal Foley quipped that “receiving an honorary degree is a little like canonization without the inconvenience of dying.” He then revealed his admiration for St. John Neumann. “My mother pinned a relic of him to my crib when I was a baby.… I am very grateful and a bit too proud to have now received a diploma that bears his name.”
John Mullen advised graduates “to instill passion in whatever you choose to do” and reminded them that “success doesn’t come easily or without sacrifice.”
Honoring Their Daughter’s Memory
In the one sobering moment of the ceremony, Christopher and Jeanmarie Chase accepted an honorary degree, awarded posthumously to their daughter Kelly, who was killed in an auto accident
in early January. An education major, Kelly would have graduated with the Class of 2010, and her parents walked across the stage to receive the degree at the moment that their daughter’s name was called. Dr. Mirenda hugged both parents, and Kelly’s classmates delivered prolonged applause to comfort the grieving mother and father.
Just weeks ago, Kelly’s father and mother, established the Kelly Vaughan Chase Memorial Academic Award in their daughter’s honor. The
award is given to a graduating elementary education student who is in good academic standing, is committed to teaching, shows a great love of children, exhibits creative teaching skills, and inspires children to achieve their potential, believe in themselves, and to follow their dreams.
The award was first presented at the April 23 Academic Awards Convocation to Laura Mae Murdoch Fredrickson, Vanessa M. Hendrickson and Sally Ramsey Secundo.
The Houpt family is intimately connected
to Neumann. Christopher and Steven
(in academic robes) earned, respectively,
a B.S. in liberal studies and an M.S. in strategic leadership. Denise will earn a certificate in phlebotomy in June, and
Abby just graduated from the Child Development Center and is preparing
A Family Affair
For one Media family, Commencement 2010 was a real family affair. Steven Houpt, 44, and his son Christopher, 24, accepted degrees on the same day. Steven, a 1983 graduate of St. James High School, received a master’s degree in strategic leadership. Christopher, who graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in 2004, earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies.
Two other members of this Delco clan are scheduled to finish studies at Neumann in June. Steven’s wife Denise, a 1984 Sun Valley High School graduate,
will complete a Neumann certificate program in phlebotomy, and niece Abby Houpt is graduating from the University’s Child Development Center before moving on to kindergarten.
Ovarian Cancer Activist Earns Master’s Degree
Melissa Dougherty, an ovarian cancer survivor and local activist for ovarian cancer awareness, received her master’s degree in sport management. In July 2009, Melissa welcomed her second child into the world. This birth was less than two years after her diagnosis and treatment that involved surgery and chemotherapy.
Since receiving the news of her condition in 2007, Melissa, a Havertown resident, has actively supported the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, which advocates education about the disease, early diagnostic testing, and research to find a cure.
Russ Spangler's family came from York
to see him graduate. Russ is the only student in the country this year to receive the National Undergraduate Student Award from Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national Catholic honor society.
The Only One in America -- Again
Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national Catholic honor society, has selected Russell Spangler as the only student in the country to receive its 2010 National Undergraduate Student Award. In the 23 years since the society created the award in 1988, Spangler is just the 21st to receive the honor. Criteria for the award include an overall GPA of 3.9 or higher; evidence of high scholarship; and endorsements by the department chair and chief academic officer. Seventy-three colleges in the country have active chapters of Delta Epsilon Sigma.
A resident of York, PA, Spangler earned his degree in communication arts. Last year, Neumann’s Barbara Perry was the sole student in the country to receive this award.
Hail, Alma Mater
For 45 years and 44 commencement ceremonies, Neumann University graduates have never sung the school alma mater because such a song did not exist. Now, one does. Dr. Richard Sayers, a Drexel Hill resident and member of Neumann’s music faculty, composed the music and lyrics to the Neumann University Alma Mater, performed publicly for the first time at the 2010 Commencement Exercises.
Rachel Venable and Christopher Longwall perform the brand new Neumann University Alma Mater, written by faculty member Richard Sayers, Ph.D.
Hail to you, our Neumann true,
hail the blue and gold forever!
Strong and bright, you shine your light
on the Knights of Neumann U.
To learn, to live, to serve, to give:
we will strive to rise above;
Pledging all our days to sing God’s praise,
as we live the truth in love.
Hail to you, our Neumann true,
home of beauty, peace and justice.
Here and now, upon the Tau,
we affirm our faith in you.
‘Neath golden sun, we stand as one
here upon this holy hill,
And embrace the call to care for all,
ever faithful to God’s will.
Valedictorian Mark Auger
In an address to his classmates, Mark Auger, a business administration major and valedictorian of the Class of 2010, recalled a freshman experience that stayed with him for his four years at Neumann.
“During our years spent studying at Neumann, we have learned many things. We have learned science, history, math, and philosophy. I can remember my first semester when I had a theology class with Dr. Leonard DiPaul. He acknowledged that each of us experiences God differently.
“He went on to tell us that the mission of Neumann University is to help make us realize that this unique relationship is our own ‘personal covenant with God,’ which is essential for having life-giving relationships with other people. As a result, we have learned how easily acquaintances can become friends, and how many of those friends are now like family.”
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