Penn State announces fall 2019 commencement events and speakers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall Penn State expects to award approximately 5,293 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 232 associate, 3,811 baccalaureate, 1,052 master’s, 12 law, 184 doctoral, and two medical degrees.

All figures listed are estimates as of Dec. 17; totals do not include Penn College.

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 http://commencement.psu.edu.

Penn State Abington

10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 20, at Penn State Abington (additional information)

Speaker: Stewart L. Cohen, founder and shareholder, Cohen, Placitella & Roth

Cohen focuses his practice on complex civil litigation including medical malpractice, product liability, workplace accidents and class actions. He has been selected by his peers as one of the best lawyers in America, and his firm has been named by U.S. News and World Reports as a top firm in the United States.

Penn State Altoona

11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Adler Athletic Complex at Penn State Altoona (additional information)

Speaker: Richard DeDonato

DeDonato, a 1977 Penn State graduate, currently serves as market manager for Ecolab’s national specialty pest services division. He is the author of the children’s book series “Pipsie, Nature Detective,” featuring the character Pipsie and her sidekick, Alfred Z. Turtle.

Penn State Berks

7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20, Santander Arena (additional information)

Speaker: Douglas Tieman, president and chief executive officer, Caron Treatment Centers

Douglas Tieman has served as president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers since 1995. Caron provides an extensive continuum of care for people of all ages at its facilities in Pennsylvania and Florida and its Regional Recovery Centers in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City, New England and Washington, DC. Tieman has more than 30 years of leadership experience in addiction treatment center and industry positions. Guided by the belief that research and prevention are key to resolving the addiction crisis, Caron has taken a leadership role in sponsoring research in addiction treatments and outcomes and advocating for ethics and standards.

Penn State Brandywine

10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Penn State Brandywine Commons/Athletic Center (additional information)

Speaker: Elizabeth Killough, director of the Untours Foundation, an international foundation that provides loans and support to “green,” leading-edge businesses that address social and economic issues, including creating jobs for vulnerable populations.

Penn State DuBois

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Multipurpose Building Gymnasium at Penn State DuBois (additional information)

Speaker: LuAnn Demi, 2018-19 DuBois Educational Foundation Educator of the Year

Demi has been program director of the Penn State DuBois Occupational Therapy Assistant Program since 1999. She is also an assistant teaching professor in the program, collaborating with faculty throughout the University system to update offerings and meet accreditation standards, industry trends and student needs. Demi earned her master’s in occupational therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College in 1993, and her bachelor’s in rehabilitation education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1984. She is a certified occupational therapist with the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy and is licensed through the Pennsylvania State Licensing Board. 

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20, at Junker Center (additional information)

Speakers: Joseph Beilein, associate professor of history at Penn State Behrend; and Tesha Nesbit Arrington, director of diversity and inclusion and community outreach at Erie Insurance and a 1993 Penn State Behrend graduate in communication.

Penn State Greater Allegheny

11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Penn State Greater Allegheny’s Wunderley Gym (additional information)

Speaker: Jessica Brooks, chief executive officer and executive director of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health

Brooks is leading the effort to redefine and advance the discussion around health care value, access and quality on behalf of employers. She is working to drive continuing education for health and human resource professionals with the launch of one of the country’s first online certification programs designed to help human resources and benefits practitioners improve how they deploy and track health care quality and cost. Brooks is a graduate of Penn State with a bachelor’s in management, and Carnegie Mellon University with a master’s in public management. 

Penn State Harrisburg

9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at The Giant Center, Hershey (additional information)

Speaker: Heather Neary, president of Auntie Anne’s, the world’s largest soft-pretzel franchise firm, and a 2009 Penn State Harrisburg master of business administration graduate. Neary is a Penn State Alumni Fellow, as well as a 2010 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award and a 2017 recipient of Penn State Harrisburg’s Alumni Achievement Award. She serves on the board of advisers for Penn State Harrisburg.

Penn State New Kensington

10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Penn State New Kensington Forum Theatre (additional information)

Speaker: Erin Weber, Penn State alumna and associate vice president and a founding partner of The Weber Group at Hefren-Tillotson

Weber, who started her Penn State journey at the New Kensington campus before completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees at University Park, is currently an associate vice president and founding partner of The Weber Group at Hefren-Tillotson. She holds an executive certificate in financial planning from Duquesne University, is a certified financial planner practitioner, certified personal finance counselor, and member of the Financial Planning Association. Prior to financial planning, she was a teacher and presented at various conferences and co-authored multiple papers in the area of maximizing educator effectiveness. As a New Kensington student, Weber played softball and basketball.

Penn State Shenango

6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at Penn State Shenango (additional information)

Speaker: Michael J. Calla, superintendent of schools for the Sharon City School District

Prior to his appointment as superintendent of Sharon School District, Calla served as the district’s supervisor of curriculum and instruction from July 2002 until June 2013. In addition, he has over 40 years of working in all levels of public and parochial education. He has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and central office administrator.

Penn State University Park

Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony

5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center, Presidents Hall I and II

Speaker: Dean Peggy A. Johnson

Undergraduate students (baccalaureate and associate degrees)

Saturday, Dec. 21, Bryce Jordan Center

Speaker: Penn State President Eric Barron

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, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, College of Education, College of Health and Human Development, College of the Liberal Arts, College of Nursing, Eberly College of Science

Penn State University Park undergraduate commencement information

The Graduate School

4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Bryce Jordan Center

Speaker: TBA

Penn State University Park Graduate School commencement information

Penn State York

6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (additional information)

Speaker: Abraham “Abe” Amorós, president of Amorós Communications and member of the Penn State Board of Trustees

Amorós Communications specializes in public relations, government relations, and the management of issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. A Penn State graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, and a former Penn State York student, Amorós also holds a master’s degree in governmental administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Along with an internship in Harrisburg, he credits having a career in government and politics back to his days as a student at the York campus, and his courses with the late Chuck Kennedy, a senior instructor in political science. A personal highlight for him at the ceremony is that his daughter, a Penn State York senior, will graduate.

Pennsylvania College of Technology

11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., Williamsport

Speakers: Penn College student Stephanie A. Petrison, and Ryan P. Good, assistant professor of welding

Petrison, of Landenberg, Chester County, will receive a bachelor of science in business administration: sport and event management concentration. Good earned both a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology and an associate degree in welding technology from Penn College; earlier this year he received the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award, the highest honor accorded to Penn College faculty.