31 First Responders Make History
at 50th Commencement

First Responders
Some of the first responders who received bachelor degrees in Public Safety Administration gathered around Dr. Jilian Donnelly, their dean, before the ceremony.

 

Thirty-one first responders made history at Neumann’s 50th Commencement Exercises on May 14 as the first to complete the university’s online bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration (PSA), a program designed specifically for firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians. The 31 graduates include 14 members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, as well as Upper Darby and Philadelphia police officers, and even an EMS from Idaho. For a full list of the 31 PSA graduates, click here.

 

 
Dr. Rosalie Mirenda
 
Dr. Rosalie Mirenda officiated her
20th Neumann commencement.
 
Eustace Mita
Eustace Mita told the graduates about
three tools “that can change you from who
you are today to who you want to
become tomorrow.”
mortarboard messages
Students got creative with
mortarboard messages.
 
Lisa and Jess Cadorette
Lisa Roberts Cadorette and her daughter Jessica, residents of Media, graduated together. Lisa received a master’s degree in Education, Jessica a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Arts.
 
 
Lindback Foundation Award
 
Sr. Linda Sariego, OSF, Ph.D., assistant professor of Spanish, received the
Charles R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching
from Dr. Lawrence DiPaolo, vice president
for academic affairs.
Brandon Provenzano
Valedictorian Brandon Provenzano
urged graduates to embrace the challenges
brought by change.
   

According to Dr. Jilian Donnelly, dean of Continuing Adult and Professional Studies, Neumann University is the only college in the region to offer this program online. In addition, she knows of no other college in the country that requires primary research as part of the capstone project for an online bachelor’s degree in this field and requires that the research include a connection to Franciscan values.

 

In all, Neumann awarded degrees to 674 students. Graduates received 34 doctoral degrees, 112 master degrees, 523 bachelor degrees, and five associate degrees. The University was founded as Our Lady of Angels College in 1965 with a total enrollment of 115 students. Two years later, at the first commencement, nine students received degrees, all Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

 

“Neumann University has come a long way since its first commencement in 1967,” said Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, Neumann’s president. “We are grateful for the vision and courage of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who founded this university, and committed to help fulfill the educational goals of traditional and adult students across the Delaware Valley and beyond.” The 2016 commencement was Dr. Mirenda’s 20th as president.

 

Honorary doctor of humanities degrees were awarded to Susanne and Eustace Mita, who delivered the commencement address.

 

“My wish and hope is to leave you with a gift,” he told the graduates, “a gift I’ve spent a lifetime discovering. A gift of three incredibly strong tools that can literally change you from who you are today to who you WANT to become tomorrow.”

 

The three tools, he explained, are the books you read, the people you meet, and the goals you set and achieve.

As examples of books that influenced him, he cited How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, and The Bible.

 

Regarding friends, his advice was straightforward. “Our time on this earth is short we want to choose our friends wisely and prayerfully. People who will bring us up, and yes, hold us to a higher standard!”

 

On setting goals, he urged graduates to consider four areas: financial, physical, relational, and spiritual. He closed with career advice: “If you go to work on a job you’ll make a living, but if you go to work on yourself, you’ll make a difference in your life and the lives of everyone you have the privilege to meet. Congratulations, God bless, and go pursue your passion!”

 

Eustace Mita is chairman of Mita Management, a closely held company with interests in the automotive and real estate industries. He is also CEO of Achristavest, LLC, a developer of waterfront properties in New Jersey, Nantucket, Maryland, Utah and Pennsylvania. An ardent Roman Catholic, he serves as chairman of development on the Board of the Papal Foundation, whose grants to Pope Francis support the world’s poor, sick and infirm through the construction of shelters and hospitals as well as providing relief for victims of natural disasters.

Susanne Mita is a community, church and school volunteer. Her concern for God’s very needy led her to travel to Africa and help in establishing the Saint Mary Magdalen Oasis of Peace orphanage in Kisumu, Kenya, along with several other donors from the parish. She serves as the fund raiser and liaison for the home. In addition, Mrs. Mita travels to Africa twice each year to spend time with and attend to the needs of the 51 orphaned and abandoned children and the Franciscan Sisters who care for them.

Brandon Provenzano, a Business Administration and Accounting double major from Sharon Hill, delivered the valedictory remarks on behalf of the Class of 2016.

 

“Several years ago my father passed away suddenly,” he told his classmates. “In an instant everything changed. A few weeks ago my family and I suffered a devastating loss when a room of our home caught on fire and we were forced to evacuate. While devastating, these losses serve as a lesson; change is inevitable and at times comes without warning.

 

“I believe that one of the most damaging things to our success is the image we have in our minds of how things are supposed to be. To quote a Chinese proverb, ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.’”

 

He concluded with an exhortation to his classmates to face the change they will surely encounter.  “Here we all are today in the presence of great change as we ready ourselves to transition into professionals and the generation that will solve the world's greatest issues … I implore all of you to take this thought with you in your careers and your lives. It is through embracing and adapting to change, with courage, that we are able to achieve the goals we dream about.”

 

 

Commencement 2016
Graduates proudly wore Tau crosses throughout the ceremony.
senior class gift
The Class of 2016 set the record for a senior class gift by raising $11,850.
Commencement 2016
Graduates were all smiles as they celebrated a milestone in their lives.
Commencement 2016
Throughout the day, students shared their gratitude with family members.

 

 


05/14/16


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