As graduates walk up and down the steps of the dais to receive their diplomas on May 10, they know they’re also walking away from one chapter of their lives and into another.
Gannon University’s spring commencement will be held at 2 p.m. at the newly renovated Erie Insurance Arena and will mark the completion of studies for 967 students – 685 of whom will be attending the ceremony.
The events of the day will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Room 219 of the Waldron Campus Center, where the ROTC commissioning ceremony will take place. The Baccalaureate Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at St. Peter Cathedral with the Rev. Lawrence Persico, bishop of Erie, presiding.
A reception will take place from 11 a.m. until noon after the Mass in the Yehl Room. Graduates will then assemble at 1 p.m. at the Erie Insurance Arena in preparation for the commencement at 2 p.m.
Of the 685 diplomas to be awarded at Saturday’s event, six are doctorates of physical therapy; six are Ph.D.s; 222 are master’s, 395 are bachelor’s and 25 are associate degrees. Of these, 384 are from the Morosky College for Health and Sciences, 151 are from the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences and 150 are from the College of Engineering and Business.
Sixty students will graduate summa cum laude; 75 with magna cum laude; 71 cum laude and seven with academic honors. Female graduates comprise 445 of the graduating class participating Saturday while males form 240.
As graduates get ready to put on their caps and gowns, they are faced with many emotions and the uncertainty of what the future brings.
For Matt Kridel, a senior psychology major, graduation doesn’t only refer to the receiving of the diploma, but also to the transition from one part of life to the next.
“Graduation is usually meant to refer to one day of pomp and circumstance,” he said, “but it’s actually an incredibly intimate and personal process.
“College isn’t just a place where you study a major, but also where you live and grow up.”
As Kridel prepares to move to Mobile, Ala., to enter the Combined Clinical & Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of South Alabama, he is left with appreciation for Gannon.
“Gannon has given me so much and I hope I’ve given it something in return,” he said. “I can’t imagine anywhere else I would’ve spent the last four years.
“I will appreciate the warmer weather but wish I could take all my friends with me.”
Emma Mancini, a senior biology major who plans on going to med school on Saint Vincent Island in the Caribbean, shares Kridel’s feelings about graduation and Erie’s weather.
“I am excited to start a new chapter,” she said, “but I’m going to miss the organizations that I am a part of – I will definitely not miss the weather though.”
Mancini said she was excited to graduate, but still has mixed emotions about leaving Gannon.
“I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends and definitely made the most of my time at Gannon,” Mancini said. “I have a bittersweet feeling because I’m really excited to graduate and be done with everything but I know I’ll miss it because med school is going to be harder.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s graduation will be the Rev. Majdi Siryani, Ph.D., head of the Advancement and Global Office at the American University of Madaba (AUM), Gannon’s partner instituation in Jordan.
Siryani played a major role in the initiation and development of Gannon’s partnership with the Latin Patriarchate Schools and AUM.
Prior to his post at the AUM, Siryani was the general manager of the legal department of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem and the legal adviser for His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah.
He has also served the Holy See as a member of its delegation for negotiations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Siryani was awarded a Ph.D. in law after studying Civil and Canon Law at the Pontifcia Universitas Laternanesis in Rome for seven years, with a specialty in international law.
Additionally, he has many years of experience working with youth ministry and educational programs in both Jordan and Palestine.