GREENVILLE, Pa. – Thiel College granted bachelor of art degrees to 203 men and women during Saturday’s
commencement exercises in the college’s William A. Passavant Memorial Center. One honorary doctorate was also presented.
Thiel College President Dr. Robert C. Olson ’60 welcomed the graduating class, parents and friends. He also conferred the degrees and distributed the diplomas.
Dr. Carl Hoffman Jr. ’69, president and corporate medical director of PrimeCare Medical Inc. and PrimeCare Medical of West Virginia Inc., provided the keynote address “A Tribute to the Graduating Class of 2008.”
Hoffman, a successful medical services entrepreneur, focused his remarks on acknowledging those who make Thiel the special place it is—from the faculty to the administration to the staff—as well as thanking those who made his own journey through life possible, including his family and friends, many of whom were present in the audience. Hoffman presented Roseanne Gill-Jacobson, vice president for student life and dean of students, with a dozen roses from the Class of 2008 as she was the person they most wanted to honor from their time at the College.
Hoffman, who held several meetings with members of the Class of 2008 while preparing for his keynote address, said of the new graduates, “You are the past, present and future of Thiel College.”
He left the class with 15 lessons, including “Remember where you came from,” “Always be truthful” and “Share your time, talent and treasure with others.”
Following the keynote address, alumnus Joseph S. Werlinich ’53 was awarded an honorary degree.
Werlinich is professor of administrative and policy studies at the University of Pittsburgh and co-director of the Western Pennsylvania Principals Academy.
Dr. Jay Ward, professor of English, of Sharon, Pa. and Dr. W. Merrill Downer, professor of political science, of Greenville, Pa. retired at the end of the academic year and were honored with emeritus status during the Commencement ceremony.
Six students—David Lee Bowman of Ashburn, Va., Deidra Tess Franley of Jefferson, Ohio, Brian Thomas Riddle of Greenville, Pa., Syrell Jeannette Rodriguez Carreras of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Hannah Louise Smith of Shelocta, Pa., and Michael Stimac Jr. of East Brady, Pa.— earned valedictorian honors for achieving perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Annette de Lourdes Rodriguez Carreras of Ponce, Puerto Rico was named salutatorian.
Bowman graduated summa cum laude, an honor presented to students who have earned a grade point average of 3.8 or higher. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He received departmental honors in history and religion, and was also awarded a Dean’s Key for being named to the dean’s list all eight semesters.
Franley, who also graduated summa cum laude, earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She earned departmental honors in psychology and religion, and was also awarded the Dean’s Key.
Riddle graduated summa cum laude and earned a bachelor of arts degree in religion. He received departmental honors in religion.
Syrell Rodriguez Carreras graduated summa cum laude and earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry. She received departmental honors in chemistry and was also a recipient of the Dean’s Key.
Smith graduated summa cum laude and earned a bachelor of arts degree in English. She received departmental honors in education and English, and was also a recipient of the Dean’s Key.
Stimac graduated summa cum laude and earned a bachelor of arts degree in English. He received departmental honors in education and English, and was also a recipient of the Dean’s Key.
Annette Rodriguez Carreras graduated summa cum laude and earned a bachelor of arts degree in history. She received departmental honors in education and history, and was also a recipient of the Dean’s Key.
Senior Class President Antonio M. Quarterman of St. Petersburg, Fla. offered greetings from the graduating class and presented the class gift – a tree to adorn Brother Martin’s Walk and banners that will hang from light posts in downtown Greenville.
Ian M. Semasko of Latrobe, Pa., delivered the senior address “The Measure of Success.”
Dr. Mervin E. Newton, interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, presented the class for degrees. Dr. Chris Moinet, professor of English, led the procession as faculty marshal.
The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ng’weshemi, college pastor, provided the invocation and benediction.
Special music was provided by members of the Thiel Choir under the direction of Dr. Michael Bray, Kathryn A. Gray, adjunct professor of music, served as accompanist.