Penn State announces fall 2015 commencement events and speakers

Penn State fall commencement
Credit: Patrick Mansell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall approximately 5,200 Penn State students will receive their diplomas. University-wide there will be 275 associate, 3,800 baccalaureate, 895 master's, 35 law and 225 doctoral degrees awarded.

Following is a compilation of commencement ceremonies and speaker information for Penn State's 24 locations. Additional information about University Park commencement is available online at


Penn State Abington

10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Athletic Building

Speaker: Steven N. Kline, Abington Township Commissioner and architect

Kline is a community leader and a successful small business owner in eastern Montgomery County. He founded Regan Kline Cross Architects LLC and is a partner in Regan Construction Co. Inc.

Kline was appointed to the Abington Township Planning Commission and later elected township commissioner. As a commissioner and vice president of its board, he chaired the Zoning Ordinance and the Finance Committee. Kline was named to the Montgomery County Planning Commission and elected chairman earlier this year.


Penn State Altoona

11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Jaffa Shrine, Altoona

Speaker: Steven Wagman

Wagman is a 1982 Penn State graduate with a degree in health planning and administration. Wagman retired as vice president for Enterprise Solutions Implementation at Siemens Medical Solutions, USA after 33 years of service in June 2015. Over the course of his career, Wagman led organizations in health care information technology implementation and strategic consulting; medical imaging site planning, design, and construction services; and program management for Siemens One strategic relationships in health care.


Penn State Beaver

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Student Union Building Auditorium

Speaker: Betty Sue Schaughency

Schaughency has enjoyed a long relationship with Penn State Beaver. She was a member of the inaugural faculty in 1965 and spent 17 years on the Penn State Beaver Advisory Board. Schaughency earned her bachelor’s degree from Geneva College and her master’s in science and doctorate in counselor education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is best known for the 48 years she spent as a teacher, counselor and superintendent in the Beaver Area School District. In addition to her work with the district, Schaughency served in a number of consulting and advisory roles with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Educator Training Center in Los Angeles, and the Educational Leadership Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh.


Penn State Behrend 

6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Junker Center

Speaker: Daniel S. Mead

Mead, the former president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, has remained with the company, overseeing the transfer of Verizon’s consumer and mass business operations in California, Florida and Texas to Frontier Communications, which purchased the assets for approximately $10.54 billion earlier this year. His current title is executive vice president and president of strategic initiatives. Mead, a Penn State trustee, holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in quantitative business analysis and finance from Penn State. He was named an Alumni Fellow in 2008 and received the Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given to a graduate by the University, in 2010. The title of his address is “Be Ready for Change.”


Penn State Berks

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Beaver Community Center

Speaker: Jack D. Gulati

For 48 years, Gulati has been a “serial entrepreneur.” Born in India, he immigrated to the United States in 1958 when he was 15 years old. He acquired his first business at the age of 26, and in the ensuing years, he bought, sold or created 42 businesses worldwide. His companies in the United States and Europe have included Fidelity Technologies Corporation, TeleAlarm Group, Fidelity Investment Corporation, SafetyCare Technologies, and Stokesay Castle. Most recently, he acquired the Reading Royals, the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. Gulati has received many honors over the years: President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the Small Business Advisory Committee of Federal Communications Commission, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton appointed him as a delegate to the 1986 and 1995 White House Conferences on Small Business.


Penn State Brandywine

10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Commons Building Gymnasium

Speaker: Mike Arata

Arata, director of engineering at United Airlines, graduated from Penn State at University Park with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering after attending the Brandywine campus during his first two years at Penn State.

Over the course of his 24-year career, Arata has held various positions at United Airlines. Currently, his engineering team is responsible for the regulatory compliance, configuration control, modifications, reliability and technical program requirements for the United Airlines fleet, which is one of the largest in the world. Beyond United Airlines, Arata chairs the Airlines for America (A4A) Engineering Maintenance and Material Council (EMMC) and serves on the advisory board for Penn State Brandywine.


Penn State DuBois

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, DuBois Country Club

Speaker: Nancy Micks

Micks most recently served as director for the Greater DuBois Area Chamber Of Commerce. She retired in June after 17 years with the chamber. Micks also served as a member of the DuBois City Council and became state certified for planning and economic growth in Pennsylvania.

Born in Brookville, Micks moved to DuBois as a child when her family relocated to the area in 1950. It was at this time that her parents, Paul and Dorothy Reitz, moved their business, Riverside Markets, to DuBois and established the company's new headquarters. Other than seven years spent in the Altoona area, Nancy has lived and worked in DuBois since her family first settled there.


Penn State Fayette

no fall commencement


Penn State Great Valley

no fall commencement


Penn State Greater Allegheny

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, Wunderley Gymnasium

Speaker: Jeanna E. Cooper

Cooper is the manager of e-services in the materials and supply chain management department at CONSOL Energy Inc., a Fortune 500 company, where she has oversight of e-procurement processes, supply chain management back-office processes, and the master data management group. With an education in information systems and communications and years of experience in managing specialized technologies in supplier management and other areas, Cooper leverages various business and procurement technologies to drive automation, efficiencies and best practices across the supply chain to deliver cost savings and ROI. She previously was a faculty member at Penn State Greater Allegheny where she taught classes in business and information science and technology.


Penn State Harrisburg

9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Giant Center

Speaker:  Eva J. Pell

Pell, recently retired under secretary for science at the Smithsonian Institution and former Penn State senior vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, is a biologist, plant pathologist, and science administrator who spent nearly four decades at Penn State before becoming the under secretary of science for the Smithsonian Institution in 2010. Pell was responsible for the Penn State Research and Technology Transfer Organization, which connects Penn State researchers with industries in order to stimulate economic development.


Penn State Hazleton

no fall commencement


Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

no fall commencement


Penn State Lehigh Valley

no fall commencement


Penn State Mont Alto

no fall commencement


Penn State New Kensington

10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Athletics Center

Speaker: Amy Cyprych

Cyprych is director of risk revenue at Highmark. The campus alumna earned a bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology in 2002. A frequent guest speaker in IST classes at the campus, Cyprych enjoys interacting with the students and sharing her experiences in the corporate world. In addition, she has sponsored projects for the senior capstone course, which focuses on real-life problems faced by an organization, and she has participated as an employer partner of the GREAT (Growing Regional Excellence through Experience, Academics, and Training) program for promising students in engineering and technology fields.


Penn State Schuylkill

no fall commencement


Penn State Shenango 

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Auditorium

Speaker: Tom Roberts

Roberts is the executive director of the Hope Center for Arts & Technology (HopeCAT). He is a Penn State alumnus holding a bachelor of arts in industrial and labor relations. He earned his MBA from Temple University. Outside of work and community service, Roberts sings with the Shenango Valley Chorale, performs in multiple community theater productions, and enjoys landscaping projects with his wife, Ryen. He is also a proud member of the Penn State Blue Band, performing annually at Beaver Stadium for Homecoming.


Penn State University Park


Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony

5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, The Penn Stater Hotel Conference Center


Undergraduate students (baccalaureate and associate degrees)

Saturday, Dec. 19, Bryce Jordan Center

Remarks by: Eric Barron, Penn State president


9 a.m.

College of Agricultural Sciences

Smeal College of Business

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

College of Engineering

College of Information Sciences and Technology


12:30 p.m.

College of Arts and Architecture

College of Communications

College of Education

College of Health and Human Development

College of the Liberal Arts

College of Nursing

Eberly College of Science


The Graduate School

4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Bryce Jordan Center

Speaker: Douglas R. Cavener, Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science

Cavener is internationally recognized for his research in molecular biology, genetics and evolutionary biology. His recent work has focused on the etiology of human diseases, including diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. He came to Penn State in 2000 and has served as the department head of biology over the past 15 years. In 2012, he was also appointed adjunct professor of life sciences at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Tanzania. Cavener was appointed the dean of the Eberly College of Science on July 18, 2015.


Penn State Wilkes-Barre

no fall commencement


Penn State Worthington-Scranton

no fall commencement


Penn State York
6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Pullo Family Performing Arts Center

Speaker: Elizabeth (Liz) J. Dellinger

Dellinger has 24 years of banking experience and is the director of treasury management for York Traditions Bank in York, Pennsylvania. Although she is not a graduate of Penn State, that hasn’t stopped her from devoting a tremendous amount of time working to help Penn State York grow and become a vital part of the York community. She has served on the Penn State York Advisory Board since 2003 and was the board chair from 2011-12. She continues to serve on the board alongside her father, Donald, a Penn State graduate and her blue and white influence, who has been a board member since 1988.


Pennsylvania College of Technology

11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Community Arts Center

Student speaker: Jay Michael Rhoads Jr.

Rhoads will graduate with an associate degree in automotive restoration technology. He will also be presented with the President’s Award for leadership and service.


Dickinson Law

no fall commencement


Penn State Law

no fall commencement