Widener University awards degrees at 2019 commencement

Widener University conferred degrees to more than 1,100 graduates in a ceremony Friday, May 17. Commencement was held at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

The commencement speaker was former U.S. Congressman and past Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Patrick Murphy, a veteran, Widener alumnus and member of the Widener University Board of Trustees.

In his speech, Murphy focused on three principles: find a purpose, trust the process, and give back.

“When you live a purpose-driven life, when you trust the process, when you show up and give back, even in the face of intense challenges, you too can make a difference in this world,” he said.

The graduates hailed from 36 states and 11 other countries, including China, Netherlands, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The youngest graduate was 20 years old, while the eldest was 67. They included:

  • Patrick Choate of Birdsboro. Choate graduated with a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Widener’s School of Human Service Professions.
  • Alyssa Gombar of Reading. Gombar graduated with a Master of Social Work from Widener’s School of Human Service Professions.
  • Brandi Lafountain of Bethel. Lafountain graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing from Widener’s School of Nursing.
  • Danielle Palermo of Shillington. Palermo graduated with a Master of Social Work from Widener’s School of Human Service Professions.
  • Tracy Scheirer of Birdsboro. Scheirer graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science from Widener’s School of Nursing.
  • Katrina Undheim of Laureldale. Undheim graduated with a Master of Education in Human Sexuality Studies Sex Therapy from Widener’s School of Human Service Professions.
  • Samantha Bennethum of Wernersville. Bennethum graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Widener’s School of Nursing.
  • Antonio Borelli of Wyomissing. Borelli graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.
  • Jenelle Clelland of Wernersville. Clelland graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Widener’s School of Nursing.
  • Blake Devine of Reading. Devine graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Economics/Personal Financial Services from Widener’s School of Business Administration.
  • Erin Doherty of Wernersville. Doherty graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management with a specialization in Marketing from Widener’s School of Business Administration.
  • Scott Goeltz of Wyomissing. Goeltz graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.
  • Ryan Koch of West Lawn. Koch graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Widener’s College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Alexis Meals of Fleetwood. Meals graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Analytics from Widener’s School of Business Administration.
  • Ethan Newman of Fleetwood. Newman graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.
  • Andrew Saylor of Reading. Saylor graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.
  • Samuel Smith of Wyomissing. Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.
  • Carley Sottosanti of Reading. Sottosanti graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management from Widener’s School of Business Administration.
  • Olivia Weaver of Reading. Weaver graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Widener’s School of Engineering.

The graduates also heard from Iman Elkhashab who was selected as the President’s Award recipient and served as the student speaker.

In her speech, Elkhashab shared her personal story of struggle and perseverance that she experienced growing up in Egypt during the time of the revolution. The tumultuous environment taught Elkhashab, now of Broomall, Pennsylvania, that each individual has the capacity to conquer and grow from challenges encountered.

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