85th Annual May Commencement--Saturday, May 21st, 2011

85th Annual May Commencement--Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Misericordia University awarded 630 undergraduate and graduate degrees and also delivered a lesson about leaving a “sustainable stamp’’ on the environment and world at the 85th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 21 in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on campus.  Regis A. Rugemanshuro of Kigali, Rwanda poses with Board of Trustees member, Michael Amory '85.

 The Class of 2011 is diverse with members hailing from 14 states and the country of Rwanda. “Commencement is so named to connote that you are commencing into another phase of your life,’’ President Michael A. MacDowell said, addressing the largest graduating class in Misericordia’s history. “And while that is true, much of what you have experienced and learned at Misericordia will remain with you for a long time.

 “As you commence today, please take a few moments to reflect upon how Misericordia, and all that it represents, impacts young and old alike. The values summarized so well by the charisms of our founders and sponsors will always be a part of your life,” President MacDowell added.

During the ceremony, Misericordia University presented commencement speaker Nicholas DeBenedictis, Charles “Rusty’’ Flack, Jr., of Dallas Township, Pa., chairman and CEO of Diamond Consolidated Industries and a former member of the Misericordia University Board of Trustees; and Father Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C., Ph.D., retiring president of King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

The institution of higher education also bestowed the Catherine McAuley Medal on Margaret Neff Burke of West Pittston, Pa., in recognition of her significant service to her community, Misericordia University and the values to which it aspires.

Mr. DeBenedictis, who serves as chairman, CEO and president of Aqua America, began his career with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and spoke of the work he has done to leave an environmentally-friendly stamp on his work for the betterment of today and tomorrow.

According to Mr. DeBenedictis, the environmental policies that are in place today would have dramatically affected  the outcome of the mine scarred land that still pollutes the landscape of the NEPA region.

“This [The Marcellus Shale] is your new world, your Italian Renaissance, your Detroit, your Silicon Valley,” Mr. DeBenedictis said. “It’s ripe with jobs and money and power — and enormous responsibility.

“Your state, your economy, your environment, your families — have all been given a second chance. A chance not just for economic prosperity, but also for environmental stewardship. A chance to show the world how to do it right,” he added.

The most valuable natural resource, according to Mr. DeBenedictis, does not lie beneath the ground or in the harvesting of wind or water, but rather the “real energy’’ is the people who work to make the world a better place for everyone and everything. “It’s in the people,” he said. “It’s sitting right here in front of me in caps and gowns. It’s in the hearts, minds and hands and wills and souls of each of you. It’s the personal energy you bring to this world that is our most precious natural resource — and one that can make or break this region’s future.

Mr. DeBenedictis concluded by saying, “We have left our human stamp on the natural environment and our moral stamp on our laws, on our lives and on our land,” he said. “And now you will begin to leave your stamp on your environment. Your stamp on your world. Don’t waste your stamp!”

MU Class of '11 Valedictorians, from left, Megan McClary; Molly Sullivan; Stevie Dorbad; and standing, Molly Correll.The Class of 2011 also features four valedictorians, who each share identical 4.0 grade point averages and the desire to help those most in need through their career paths in the health sciences. Valedictorians Molly Correll, Bethlehem, Pa., received her Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology and will be working for Phoebe Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Allentown, Pa.; Megan McClary, the daughter of Andy and Rosanne McClary of Sayre, Pa., received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and will seek her graduate degree at MU in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program; Molly Sullivan, the daughter of Kenneth and Gwendolen Sullivan of Gap, Pa., earned a Master of Science in physical therapy and will work in Maryland with Gateau Physical Therapy; and Stevie Dorbad, the daughter of Susan Dorbad of Exeter, Pa., graduated with a Master of Science in physical therapy and will be employed by NovaCare Rehabilitation in Orangeville, Pa., and Plains Township, Pa. For more information about this year's valedictorians, read the full article here.

Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 32 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in three colleges in full- and part-time formats.