“Take Part in Something Great”: 500 graduate from LVC

Lebanon Valley College held it's 148th commencement in Sorrentino Gymnasium

Nearly 500 students celebrated their academic success and achievements during Lebanon Valley College’s 148th Commencement on Saturday, May 13, in Louis A. Sorrentino Gymnasium. 

View photos from this year's commencement exercises.

Dr. Treva Clark, assistant chair and associate professor of business and economics, delivered the Commencement address. She encouraged graduates to take advantage of opportunities that await them and explore new experiences.

“Don’t be so focused on outcomes, of not taking risks or pursuing paths which don’t have a clearly defined end that you miss those chances to take part in something great. Sometimes the best things happen accidentally, on purpose,” said Dr. Clark, who earned the privilege of speaking after receiving the Thomas Ryhs Vickroy Distinguished Teaching Award at last year’s commencement.

Along with celebrating graduates, LVC announced the winners of several major annual awards.

The top student award, the H. Anthony Neidig Award, was presented to Patrick Maxwell of Quakertown, Pa., who graduated with a B.S. in international business and economics and a B.A. in global studies. He recently became the College’s first Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow and plans to enroll in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he will work toward a master of international affairs degree with a concentration in economic and political development, and a regional specialization in African studies. While at LVC, Maxwell defended his honors thesis for his global studies major and completed a student-faculty research project using advanced econometric modeling. He has earned a certificate in leadership and the Silver Community Service Award and has been inducted into multiple honor societies.

Also during Commencement, the College announced Dr. Robert Carey, associate professor of biology, as the recipient of this year’s Vickroy Award, the top honor for a faculty member. Dr. Carey has been building connections with students since arriving at The Valley in 2010. Along with teaching biology, genetics, and other courses in the Biology Department, Dr. Carey has collaborated with numerous students on summer research and for immersive projects through the Arnold Experiential Grant program. Through a President’s Innovation Fund grant, he paired with Dr. Rebecca Urban to develop a new interdisciplinary molecular ecology lab which resulted in a new lab being executed for students that in ecology and genetics classes. Dr. Carey has also presented at the College’s Symposium on Inclusive Excellence and will teach a connective course on evolution as part of the Constellation LVC curriculum.

Sarah Black ’14, a student of Dr. Carey’s who is completing her third year in medical school at Penn State, said during her summer research internship with Dr. Carey, he cultivated her interest in genetics and the research process. “He maintained a fine balance of letting me work through challenges on my own, but also was always around to lend a hand and guide me through difficult steps. He enhanced my critical thinking skills, and pushed me to analyze higher order concepts and relationships. He taught me about how the process of scientific research works, and has been one of the foundations of my desire to continue research in academic medicine.”

The final award presented at Commencement was the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award, which is bestowed upon a part-time or adjunct member of the College faculty. Beth Julian, director of the Center for Writing and Tutoring Resources and adjunct instructor in the English Department, was named this year’s recipient. Julian is recognized by faculty and students alike for her support of students’ academic success. She has implemented training and mentoring for peer tutors, then developed assessment standards for that training which she presented at a Middle States Conference. 

One of Julian’s students talks about her teaching, “In the classroom she is fun, encouraging, and helpful. She works hard to make sure that all of her students succeed, and she lets them know that she is always available to talk to them. Our one-on-one meetings with her were my favorite. She was easy to talk to and it always felt that she had a solution to any problem I threw at her. She helped me to set academic goals and encouraged me until I accomplished them.”

During Commencement, LVC President Dr. Lewis E. Thayne awarded four honorary degrees. This year’s recipients included:

• Joyce M. Davis, president and chief executive officer of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.). 

• Douglas O. Ebersole, Esq., ’78, independent biotechnology professional and former general counsel for NeXT Computer Inc., which was started by Steve Jobs after leaving Apple, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). 

• Edgar Morgan ’63, retired government official and former executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). 

• Rocco A. Ortenzio, co-founder and vice chairman of Select Medical, a national provider of specialized health care, will receive a Doctor of Science (Sc.D.).

At Baccalaureate on Friday evening, Dr. Andrew Milosz, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, received the Educator of the Year award. This honor is bestowed annually on a member of the full-time faculty who embodies the transformative power of the LVC experience, both inside and out of the classroom. The recipient is both nominated and elected from the entire student body.

Video of the ceremony is available soon on our YouTube channel