More than 750 Students Graduate from Saint Peter’s University

IMG_1031Yesterday marked a momentous occasion for more than 750 students from Saint Peter’s University as they walked across the stage at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. and took in their final moments as Saint Peter’s students to become Saint Peter’s alumni.

The day was not only significant to the Class of 2016 and the thousands of friends and family who filled the amphitheater, but it was also special because the students made up the first class to have completed all four years at Saint Peter’s University since the University made a transition from Saint Peter’s College in 2012.

During the 125th Commencement the University awarded 21 doctoral degrees, 321 master’s degrees, 401 bachelor’s degrees and 8 associate’s degrees.Throughout the day the graduating class reflected on the memories they made during their time at Saint Peter’s, but also considered their futures as they moved on to the next stages in their lives. This sentiment was also reflected by the commencement speaker, France Anne Córdova, Ph.D., director of the National Science Foundation.

“During your education at Saint Peter’s, you have already experienced the joy of discovering knowledge,” said Dr. Córdova. “You will continue to experience the personal joy this brings and the deep satisfaction of discovery in the service of something greater.”IMG_0129

Dr. Córdova has made prolific advancements for education, and has pioneered efforts for women’s involvement in the STEM fields. She was nominated by President Barack Obama to head the $7.2 billion independent federal agency, National Science Foundation (NSF). She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as director in March 2014. Dr. Córdova leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF’s programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership. Previously, Dr. Córdova served as NASA’s chief scientist and was deputy group leader in the Earth and space sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as a staff scientist.IMG_0267

Dr. Córdova received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at the ceremony and the University also bestowed an honorary degree upon Rev. Charles Currie, S.J., former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).

Fr. Currie, is a well-known advocate for independent higher education, who served as the president of AJCU for 14 years. Under his leadership, AJCU focused efforts on preserving student aid and increasing access to the underserved. Fr. Currie played a key role in the establishment of the AJCU Seminar on Higher Education Leadership and the development of the Jesuit Distance Education Network (JesuitNET). Prior to his role at AJCU, he served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and Xavier University in Ohio. Beyond his support of students and colleges he is also dedicated to assisting victims of natural disasters and war crimes.

The ceremony also included a valedictory address from the class valedictorian Mary Gerraah ’16 and a farewell from Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, who reflected on his pride for the class and welcomed the graduates into the extended family of more than 30,000 alumni. The new graduates left reflecting on the wise words of Dr. Córdova to “be open to the moments that invite you to take a different path” and that “the path to making a difference, is not easy or predictable, it is a unique one for you to shape.”

Click here to view more photos from the ceremony.