Campus Life

College of IST to hold spring commencement ceremony May 7

Student marshal Kathryn Ali will lead the procession during the College of Information Sciences and Technology's spring commencement ceremony, set for 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in Eisenhower Auditorium.  Credit: Jose Miguel PonteAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) will send off its 2016 graduates during its spring commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State's University Park campus.

Tom Ridge, the nation’s first secretary of homeland security and the 43rd governor of Pennsylvania, will serve as the keynote speaker. Student marshal Kathryn Ali will lead the procession during the ceremony. She will be escorted by faculty marshal Donald Shemanski, professor of practice of IST.

Ridge is founder and chairman of Ridge Global, which provides clients with solutions to identify, prepare for and mitigate cyber risk. Holding the distinction of being the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ridge worked with more than 180,000 employees from a combined 22 agencies to create an agency that facilitated the flow of people and goods; instituted layered security at air, land and seaports; developed a unified national response and recovery plan; protected critical infrastructure; integrated new technology and improved information sharing worldwide.

Before the events of Sept. 11, Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the state's 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Today, he serves on the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and other private and public entities. He is also chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Security Task Force and co-chairs with former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman a Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

Ali, of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, is a daughter of Tracy and Dave Ali. She is graduating with highest distinction with a bachelor of science degree in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) with a minor in IST.

"Coming from a Penn State family, it was always my dream to attend this University,” Ali said. “I am so honored to have been able to call not just Penn State, but the College of IST, my home.”

Ali has achieved the dean’s list each semester and is the recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, President’s Freshman Award, and PNC Technologies Scholarship Fund. In addition, she was involved in IST Honors Society, IST student government, Women in IST, and Penn State Homecoming. She also received internships from Vencore and Vanguard.

“I have tried to improve my leadership skills at Penn State, using every opportunity I could,” Ali said. “I feel that IST has strengthened my leadership potential and allowed me the opportunity to grow.”

After graduation, Ali plans to work as a crew member at Vanguard in their Technology Leadership Program. She also hopes to attend graduate school and earn a Data Analytics Graduate Certificate at Penn State Great Valley.

Shemanski joined the faculty of the College of IST in 2008, after serving for 23 years as a diplomat with the United States Foreign Service. Immediately prior to joining IST, Shemanski served as counselor for global affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, directing the embassy office responsible for high-priority policy issues such as counter-terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, climate change and international judicial assistance. He has held numerous posts in Washington and abroad, including tours in Italy, Pakistan, Cyprus and Germany.

To honor IST graduates and their families, the college will host an ice cream social prior to the commencement ceremony in Reese’s Café and the West Atrium of the IST Building from 12:45 to 2 p.m.

The ceremony will be available via live streaming video recording. For more information about commencement, visit

Last Updated May 04, 2016