“Graduates, I want you to live your life by design, not by default,” said Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, president of Central Penn College, during the college’s virtual commencement held on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.
In her opening remarks, Fedrizzi-Williams addressed the unprecedented nature of this year’s event: “I know this is not the commencement you envisioned… wherever you are viewing this virtual ceremony, I hope you are surrounded by people you love, people who helped you reach this moment of achievement.”
The one-hour event––streamed on the college’s website––featured the core elements of a traditional Central Penn commencement, including:
- Remarks by President Fedrizzi-Williams
- A guest commencement speaker
- Acknowledgement of Central Penn graduates
- Student Awards
- Traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” music
Central Penn College graduated 420 students during the 2019–2020 academic year, which ended in June. Many students opted to submit photos and/or short videos, which were included as part of the hour-long ceremony.
Speakers Offer Encouragement and Inspiration
Commencement Speaker Una Martone urged graduates to “be more curious than certain.” “Employers want to hire continuous learners who are curious enough to ask questions, humble enough to listen, bold enough to try new approaches, and courageous enough to bring new solutions to their organizations,” said Martone, who is President and CEO of Leadership Harrisburg Area. She was presented an honorary degree for her commitment to community service and improving the quality of life in the capital region.
Valedictorian Heather Rudy encouraged her fellow graduates to be resilient as they pursue their future in a pandemic-changed world. “We are navigating uncertain times and facing global challenges on multiple levels, which is all the more reason why we need to push our fear of failure aside and move forward,” said Rudy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
President Fedrizzi-Williams emphasized a message of self-determination and empowerment: “Don’t be a bystander waiting for things to happen to you, go out there and seize opportunity. If you do, you will find your own path to fulfillment and happiness, and in so doing, you will inspire the world.”
Graduating with Honors
Approximately 40% of Central Penn’s 2020 class graduated with honors. “This is a testament to our students’ commitment to excellence and achievement during an extremely challenging time,” said Dr. Krista Wolfe, vice president of academic affairs at the college, who conferred the degrees on this year’s graduates.
Founded in 1881, Central Penn College provides students with a career-focused education in a variety of disciplines, including business, accounting, I.T., healthcare, criminal justice, legal studies and more. The college offers bachelor’s degrees in nine programs; associate degrees in 10 disciplines; and a master’s in organizational leadership, as well as a growing number of certificate programs.
Commencement Speaker: Una Martone, President and CEO of Leadership Harrisburg Area
Opening Remarks: Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, President of Central Penn College
Conferring of Degrees: Dr. Krista Wolfe, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost
Total Graduates: 420
Streaming Site: www.centralpenn.edu/presents
Honorary Degree to Commencement Speaker Una Martone. The following individuals were recognized at the commencement ceremony:
- Valedictorian – Heather Rudy, B.S., Accounting
- Salutatorian – Adrian Piechowicz, B.S., Legal Studies
- Leadership – Brian Christiana, B.S., Corporate Communications
- Service – Cortez Harris, B.S., Criminal Justice Administration
- Athletics & Activities – Connor Graham, B.S., Accounting
- Veteran Leadership – Randy Ramer, A.S., Computer Information Systems
- Legacy Award for Perseverance – Morgan Wylie, M.P.S., Organizational Leadership
- The Todd A. Milano Faculty Excellence Award – Paul Miller, Assistant Professor