Penn State Brandywine celebrates graduates at fall commencement ceremony

More than 50 graduates received their bachelor’s degree during the Dec. 17 ceremony
Two women stand outdoors. One is wearing a graduation cap and gown and holding a diploma cover.

Madison Michael received a bachelor's degree in business at Penn State Brandywine's commencement ceremony on Dec. 17. Her sister and fellow Brandywine student, Erin, is scheduled to graduate in 2023.

Credit: Bill Tyson

MEDIA, Pa. — More than 50 graduates received their bachelor’s degree at Penn State Brandywine’s fall 2022 commencement ceremony on Dec. 17 in the campus gymnasium.

“Commencement is one of the greatest days in the life of a university. Commencement is also a memorable day in the lives of all our graduates,” Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells told the new Penn State graduates and their guests. “And to our 2022 graduates — let me be among the first to congratulate you!”

“Each generation has its defining moments, and for you, completing your world-class education, undergraduate research, community service, sustainability projects and internships at leading corporations and community organizations through the pandemic is your defining moment,” she added. “You exemplify our vision — ‘Penn State Brandywine will be a leader in student success, known for educating students to become valued professionals, leaders, creators, alumni, and citizens.’”

Wells also thanked the campus’ faculty and staff and the graduates’ family and friends for their role in supporting and encouraging the graduates on their academic journey.

Commencement speaker Patton Vo, Brandywine’s director of campus development, encouraged graduates to follow their own path, learn from disappointments, and have a strategy to accompany their passion.

“The journey you take now will be led by you alone — don't let that scare you,” Vo said. “Oh, no — let that liberate you. Remember, no one came here the same way, and you won’t all achieve success the same way, but because you all have shaped your path to graduation in a way that is uniquely and undeniably yours. I am confident that you will continue to do that.”

“There are few things more educational in this life than having your worst fear realized,” he added. “Whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

“Whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

—Patton Vo , Penn State Brandywine Director of Campus Development

After the commencement address, Wells and Director of Academic Affairs Wiebke Strehl conferred the degrees.

Strehl also recognized graduates who earned academic distinction for graduating in the top 12% of their class within their respective colleges.

  • Summa cum laude: Madeline Geunes, Eleanora Margulis and Brendan Pelletier
  • Magma cum laude: Gemini Ediriweera and Daniel Hamilton
  • Cum laude: Meghan Famigletti, William Malawi Odiyo, Shane Piecara ad Colin Andrew Tyson

Margulis also was recognized as a graduating member of the Scheyer Honors College and Brandywine’s Cooper Honors Program. Her Schreyer honors thesis was “Design and Synthesis of Novel Flavonoids” under the guidance of Anna Sigmon, assistant professor of chemistry.

Brad Kovaleski, director of student affairs, was master of ceremonies. Jessica Gore, president of Brandywine’s student government association, provided opening remarks, and Jasmaine Price-Thornton, residence life coordinator, delivered closing remarks.

Jonathan Savage, president of the Penn State Brandywine Advisory Board, and Meaghan Daly, president of the Penn State Brandywine Alumni Society, offered greetings and congratulations to the graduates.

“Graduates, the Penn State degree which you have worked so hard to earn will be the key to unlock many doors of opportunity and allow you to expand your mind and contribute to the communities at large,” Savage said. “I hope you are proud of what you have achieved and excited for the challenges and experiences that lie ahead.”

The Brandywine Music Association performed Pomp and Circumstance, the National Anthem, and the Penn State Alma Mater.

Penn State Brandywine, with more than 1,200 students, is a residential campus offering 14 baccalaureate programs and the first two years of nearly all of Penn State’s more than 275 majors.