Campus Life

Penn State announces commencement ceremonies and speakers

University Park, Pa. -- Through the end of the fall 2007 semester, Penn State has conferred a total of 614,357 degrees. As of May 18 the University's total number of graduates should approach 625,000.

This spring Penn State expects to award approximately 10,585 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 531 associate, 8,345 baccalaureate, 1,143 master's, 127 medical and 439 doctoral degrees.

At University Park, nine students will receive associate degrees, while 6,670 will be awarded baccalaureate degrees. Approximately 710 master's degree students are expected to graduate, as are 245 doctoral degree candidates.

Following is a compilation of commencement ceremonies and speaker information for Penn State's 24 campuses.

Penn College
Community Arts Center, Williamsport
- Friday, May 16, 3 p.m.: Construction & Design Technologies, Transportation Technology
- Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m.: Business & Computer Technologies, Health Sciences, Hospitality
- Saturday, May 17, 2 p.m.: Industrial & Engineering Technologies, Natural Resources Management, Integrated Studies
Speakers: faculty and students

Penn State Abington
May 16, 10 a.m., Athletic Building
Speaker: Stewart L. Cohen Esq.

Cohen began his Penn State career at Abington (then Ogontz), graduated from College of the Liberal Arts ('73) in the University Park Honors Program in English Literature. A trial lawyer, he is the founding partner of Cohen, Placitella & Roth in Philadelphia. He was 2007 recipient of the Penn State Abington College Alumni Society’s “Outstanding Alumnus” award.

Penn State Altoona
Saturday, May 10, gymnasium of the Stephen A. Adler Athletic Complex
- 9 a.m., Divisions of Arts and Humanities, Business and Engineering, Math and Natural Sciences
- 11:30 a.m., Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences
Speaker: George F. Gardner

Information about Gardner can be found online at

Penn State Beaver
Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m.
Auditorium, Student Union Building
Speaker: Carl Bartuch, Chairman, Bartuch Holdings Ltd.; Owner, High Tech Finishing; Owner, Kegg’s Candies

Bartuch attended Penn State Beaver, then moved on to University Park to obtain his bachelor of science degree in business administration (accounting) in 1975.
Penn State Berks
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., Beaver Community Center
Speaker: Anne Stevens, Chairman, President and CEO of Carpenter Technology Corporation

Carpenter Technology Corporation has been a longtime contributor to the Berks campus and recently gave the campus a gift of $100,000.

Penn State Brandywine
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., Commons/Athletic Center
Speaker: L.J. "Bud" Rowell Jr., chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer (retired) of Provident Mutual Life

Rowell served as a member of Penn State's Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2007, and since July 2007 has been Trustee Emeritus.  He received a B.S. in hotel administration from Penn State. He was also a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and served on active duty 1955-1957.

Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Saturday, May 10, 10:30 a.m., campus lawn (rain or shine), Dickinson College, in front of Old West (faces High Street between West and College Streets)
Speaker: Michael Apfelbaum, DSL '85

A dedicated philanthropist, Apfelbaum serves as co-trustee (along with his father, Sidney, and brother, Jeffrey '77) of the Charles B. Degenstein Foundation, which provides funding for charitable projects in Central Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the northeast United States. Apfelbaum has spearheaded successful initiatives to deliver health and dental care to underprivileged residents of Central Pennsylvania and to promote sustained economic development and vibrant communities throughout the region.  Under Apfelbaum's leadership, the Degenstein Foundation also has been a significant supporter of higher education in Central Pennsylvania, with major beneficiaries including Susquehanna University, The Dickinson School of Law and their surrounding communities.

Apfelbaum is a member of the Board of Counselors of The Dickinson School of Law and a partner in the law firm of Apfelbaum, Apfelbaum & Apfelbaum in Sunbury, Pa., where his practice focuses on business and estate planning.  He is solicitor for the City of Sunbury, attorney for the Northumberland County Airport Authority, and a member of the Board of Directors of Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa.

Apfelbaum is married to Christina Apfelbaum and is the father of three children, Brianna, Leah and Jon Sidney.  Brianna and her husband, Michael Kula, are members of The Dickinson School of Law Class of 2008.

Penn State DuBois
Saturday, May 17, 2 p.m., Multi-Purpose Building Gymnasium
Speaker: Marilyn N. Butler, dean of the School of Professional Studies at Ursuline College and alumna of Penn State DuBois

Penn State Erie
Saturday, May 17, noon, Louis J. Tullio Arena
Speaker: Jeffrey K. Pinto, Professor of Management

Penn State Fayette
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., Main Arena, Penn State Fayette Community Center
Speaker: Debra K. Brede, president of D.K. Brede Investment Company

Brede formed D.K. Brede Investment Management Company in 1989. She has more than 25 years of financial experience, and has served on the System Advisory Board of the Boston Stock Exchange and was chairman of the District Economic Education Committee for the Security Industry Association. In March 2006 Brede was named by Boston Magazine as one of the top 20 high-end investment managers in the Boston area and Barron's named her as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors in the country for 2006 and 2007. In 2007, Brede was named as one of America’s Top 50 Independent Advisors by Registered Rep Magazine. As seen in Forbes Magazine, Goldline Research named her as one of the Ten Most Dependable Wealth Managers of the Northeast. Brede is a 2007 graduate from the Harvard Business School Owners-Presidents Management Program, and is a 1978 graduate of Penn State, with a B.S. in biology.

Penn State Great Valley
Friday, May 16, 7 p.m., on the grounds of the Great Valley campus
Speaker: Matthew Emmens, CEO of Shire Pharmaceuticals

Emmens joined Shire in March 2003 and extensively restructured the company through divestments, acquisitions and organizational development. The company currently has annual sales of more than $2 billion.

Penn State Greater Allegheny
Saturday, May 17, 11 a.m., Wunderley Gymnasium
Speaker: Cynthia A. Baldwin

Baldwin is a Penn State alumnus and partner in the law firm Duane Morris LLP where she serves in the trial practice group. She was a Justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 2006 to January 2008. Prior to her appointment as judge she served on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for more than 16 years in the Civil, Family and Juvenile Divisions.

Baldwin received her J.D. from Duquesne University where she was a member of its Law Review. She was both a visiting and an adjunct professor at Duquesne University School of Law and also taught at Widener University Law School in the Trial Advocacy Program. Prior to attending law school, she taught English and was an assistant dean of student affairs at the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus. In addition, Baldwin received her B.A. and M.A. from The Pennsylvania State University in English and American Literature, respectively. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny County Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association and the Women’s Bar Association. Baldwin is extremely active in the community, serving on several non-profit boards. In February 2008 she was also elected to the Board of Koppers Holdings Inc. Baldwin is a past gubernatorial appointee to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, serving for 12 years, and is a past member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.

Baldwin served as the president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was a gubernatorial appointee to the University's Board of Trustees and its chair from 2004 through 2006. In addition, she is a member of the Penn State Greater Allegheny Advisory Board.

Penn State Harrisburg
Saturday, May 17; 9:30 a.m.; Giant Center, Hershey
Speaker: Shelley Clark Nickel, Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation for the Board of Regents, University System of Georgia

Nickel is a 2007 Penn State Alumni Fellow who received two degrees from Penn State: an undergraduate degree in 1978 and a master's degree in 1982.

Penn State Hazleton
Friday, May 16, 7 p.m., Physical Education Building
Speaker: Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Pedro A. Cortés

Penn State Hershey College of Medicine
Sunday, May 18, 1 p.m., Founders Hall of Milton Hershey School
Speaker: David L. Nahrwold, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Northwestern, and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals and other medical facilities

Penn State Lehigh Valley
Saturday, May 17, 11 a.m., West Garde, Penn State Lehigh Valley Fogelsville campus
Speaker: Jeff Taylor, founder of is the world's leading online career site. In 2006, Taylor launched, a vibrant online social community for baby boomers. Taylor is a frequent speaker at universities across the country and frequently shares his expertise in technology, advertising, and human capital at conferences. He co-authored several books including Monster Careers: How to Land the Job of Your Life;  Monster Careers: Interviewing: Master the Moment That Gets You the Job; and Monster Careers: Networking.

Penn State Mont Alto
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., gymnasium in the Multipurpose Activities Center
Speaker: John J. Romano, Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, Penn State

Penn State New Kensington
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., Field House
Speaker: Penn State alumnus John "Jack" Sennett, retired director of industrial engineering at Allegheny Ludlum and member of the first New Kensington campus graduating class in 1960

Penn State Schuylkill 
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., The Campus Green
Speaker: Jack Bertolet Jr.

Penn State Shenango
Friday, May 16, 7:30 p.m., campus auditorium
Speaker: Thomas Burich, Vice President, Managed Care Services, UPMC Horizon

Penn State University Park
A list of commencement ceremonies and speaker information is available online at
Information about honorary degree recipients is available at

Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m., gymnasium of the Athletics and Recreation Building
Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Speaker: Coquese Washington, head coach, Penn State women's basketball team

Washington, who helped lead Notre Dame to the 2001 NCAA Championship, was introduced as the fifth head coach of the PennState women's basketball program on April 23, 2007. She is the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history.
Washington juggled finishing her law degree with the start of her professional basketball career. She returned to the hardwood as a professional in 1997-98, playing for the ABL's Portland Power before spending a two-year stint with the WNBA's New York Liberty (1998-99). Washington moved to Houston for the 2000 season, where she played an instrumental role in leading the Comets to the WNBA title. She had a solid season in 2001 with the Comets and Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor, finishing ninth in the WNBA in assists and fourth in steals as Houston earned its fifth consecutive playoff berth. Washington started the 2002 campaign with Houston before being traded to the Indiana Fever at the midway point of the season. Washington guided the Fever to its first-ever playoff berth and became the first player in WNBA history to lead three different teams to the postseason. She finished her professional career in 2003 as a member of the Fever.
(Information from

Penn State Worthington-Scranton
Friday, May 16, 6 p.m., Multipurpose Building
Speaker:  Atty. Dante Cancelli

A graduate of Penn State, Cancelli received his juris doctorate from Temple School of Law and his Masters of Law in Taxation from George Washington University, where he was also awarded a university fellowship. He has owned his own law practice in Northeastern Pennsylvania since 1986, handling general practice of law matters, with emphasis on estate planning, probate, and small business. He has taught business law as an adjunct faculty member at Worthington Scranton since 1987 and currently serves on the campus's Advisory Board. He has also served as Alumni Council member, Penn State University Park, 1987-1989, and as Worthington Scranton Campus Alumni Society president, 1987-1989. 

Penn State York
Friday, May 16, 6 p.m., Pullo Family Performing Arts Center, Penn State York
Speaker: Dr. Thomas W. Wolf, Secretary of Revenue for the State of Pennsylvania

Last Updated March 19, 2009