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May 17: Graduation Day for More Than 600


Commencement Ceremony
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Lorraine A. Cavaliere, EdD
Dr. Gerard O'Sullivan with
Valedictorian Lauren Kilday
Rocco A. Abessinio ’79 and Mary F. Abessinio
Rocco A. Abessinio ’79 and
Mary F. Abessinio

On Saturday, May 17, Neumann University will award associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees to more than 600 students at its 48th commencement exercises. The ceremony will start at 12:30 p.m. on the South Lawn of campus, with friends and families of the graduates there to cheer the students and celebrate a significant milestone with them.


Valedictorian Lauren Kilday will deliver the farewell for the class of 2014. Honorary degrees will be presented to three people, each of whom will address the graduates:


Rocco A. Abessinio ’79 – president and CEO of Applied Bank
Rocco A. Abessinio began his banking career with Delaware Trust Company during the early 1970s. Primarily responsible for consumer products, he successfully implemented credit card and line of credit programs. In 1976, he was hired by Beneficial Finance Company to start its national credit card program, and in the process, developed some of the first Affinity cards which became very popular with universities, civic organizations, and other groups. After leaving Beneficial, Abessinio held high management positions with banks in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania.


In 1987, Abessinio founded Consumer Credit Services Corporation (later Applied Card Systems), whose sole purpose was to provide services, such as credit, collections, customer service, and security among other facets of credit card processing for small- to mid-sized banks. He started Cross Country Bank (now Applied Bank) in 1996. Applied Bank, with its sister company, Applied Card Systems, grew to over five million accounts serviced by some five thousand employees. Today, Applied Bank is rated among the top banks in the country focusing primarily on commercial banking, providing loans to businesses throughout the Northeast.


Abessinio has served on various boards and, through the Abessinio Family Foundation, supports Neumann University, the church, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and other community activities in Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania and Florida. He attended Salesianum High School and the University of Delaware. He received his bachelor’s degree from Neumann University.


Mary F. Abessinio – director of Applied Card Holdings
Mary Abessinio began her career as a private secretary to the chairman of the Biochemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Upon her marriage to Rocco Abessinio, she became a stay-at-home mom to their four children. It was during this time, while her husband was climbing the corporate ladder, that she took command of all the household responsibilities, as well as volunteering at various schools, Read-Aloud, Delaware, and the Auxiliary of A.I. DuPont Hospital.


Mary Abessinio later reestablished her career when Rocco started Consumer Credit Service Corporation (CCSC, now Applied Card Systems) where she held the title of Corporate Secretary. She helped establish the new company, working with her husband at the kitchen table outlining the business and marketing plans. She used her writing skills to perfect much of the marketing materials and training manuals. Her insight and day-to-day input was instrumental in developing the future path of the company.

In 1997, Mrs. Abessinio retired to pursue her interests in charitable works and to spend more time with her outside interests. At present, she is the CEO of the Abessinio Family Foundation, while also doing volunteer work. She attended Interboro High School and is a graduate of the Goldey Beacom Business School. She and her husband Rocco, married 47 years, have their permanent residence in Boca Raton, Florida.


Deacon Daniel DeLucca, Pd.D.
Deacon Daniel DeLucca, Pd.D.

Deacon Daniel DeLucca, Pd.D. – president emeritus of Alvernia University
Deacon Daniel N. DeLucca, Pd.D. has served on the Neumann University board of trustees for twelve years, as chairperson of the audit committee, and he continues to serve as a member of the trustee committee. He is president-emeritus of Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he served for seven years. Prior to his presidency at Alvernia, he was president of Spring Garden College for 13 years and served at St. Joseph’s University for 22 years as a faculty member, department chairman and assistant to the president and vice president.


Ordained a permanent deacon in 1986, he serves at St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Drexel Hill. He holds a BBA and a Pd.D. in pedagogy from St. Bonaventure University, an MBA from New York University, and was awarded a doctor of humane letters from St. Joseph’s University. Deacon Dr. DeLucca has been a pioneer in business ethics for fifty years and received the Freedoms Foundation Award for his publication on business social responsibility. He is the recipient of the Lindback Foundation Award for distinguished teaching and the Papal Honor of the Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.         


In addition he is a board member of the Holy Child Academy and a member of the advisory board for the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics at St. Joseph's University. He served the Archdiocese as the Clergy Coordinator for Ecumenical Affairs for the Delaware County Vicariate and as a member of the Planning Commission for the Tenth Archdiocesan Synod.



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