The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 23, 2012

Colleges line up speakers

Kelly Urban

JOHNSTOWN — College seniors soon will sport their caps and gowns and receive the diplomas they’ve worked hard to achieve.

But before they enter into the working world, graduates will gather one last time at commencement ceremonies to hear speakers offer words of advice and wisdom.

Here’s who is speaking at ceremonies in the region:


At the April 28 graduation ceremony, alumna Heather Muir, the featured speaker, will share her story of how she has risen through New York City’s fashion publishing industry.

The 40th annual commencement begins at 1 p.m. in the Sports Center.

After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor of arts degree in communications with a focus on public relations and marketing, Muir moved to New York and took a job as a beauty editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. She was regularly heard on Sirius XM’s Cosmo Radio and was co-author of a beauty book. Advancing through the industry, she joined Seventeen magazine as beauty editor, where she directed photo shoots and provided commentary for backstage fashion show videos.

Currently, Muir is the beauty news editor at Allure magazine.

Also speaking at the ceremony will be Student Government Association President Clifford Maloney, who will offer remarks on behalf of the students.

This year, 554 students will earn degrees.

St. Francis University

Dr. James Burke, who works in the Department of Specialized Surgery at Altoona Regional Health System and is chief of neurosurgery, will speak at the graduate-program ceremony at 10 a.m. May 6 at Stokes Athletic Center.

Burke, who graduated from St. Francis in 1988 with a B.S. degree in biology, also is a part of the medical staff at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Altoona.

He earned his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his M.D. from the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

T. Allan Comp, founder and coordinator of the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team and the Western Hardrock Watershed Team, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony at 2 p.m. at the athletic center.

Comp works through those teams to support the efforts of small community watershed groups in the mining communities of Appalachia and the Rocky Mountains.

Approximately 540 students will earn degrees at the 161st annual commencement.

Mount Aloysius College

The 159th annual commencement will begin at 10 a.m. May 5 on Whalley Plaza in front of the Main Building.

The commencement address will be given by the Honorable Judge D. Brooks Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and secretary of the Mount Aloysius College Board of Trustees.

The invocation will be given by Sister Nancy Donovan, RSM, director of campus ministries.

The student commencement address will be delivered by Connor Walsh of North Plainfield, N.J., who will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in criminology. U.S. Air Force veteran Amber Lenhard of Colver will deliver the student invocation. She will graduate with a master’s in business administration.

This year, 398 students will receive diplomas.


Clyde Mills McGeary, a 1954 graduate of IUP, will receive an honorary doctorate and serve as the keynote speaker for the May 12 commencement ceremonies in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

The 9 a.m. ceremony will be for students from the colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Fine Arts, and Health and Human Services. The 1:30 p.m. ceremony will be for students from the colleges of Education and Educational Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Eberly College of Business, and Information Technology.

About 1,800 students are expected to receive degrees.

McGeary, who received a master of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, worked with the state Department of Education from 1964 to 1991. He co-authored a series of texts related to elementary art education and other publications that underscore the importance of mathematics, science and reading to the arts. McGeary also has served on numerous state art council boards and been recognized with various education awards.

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

The 17th annual commencement will take place at 7 p.m. May 17 in the Richland campus auditorium, 101 Community College Way.

Student Government President Donell Williams will give the commencement address. He also is president of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society and will receive an associate of applied science degree in business management.

A total of 213 students will receive degrees, diplomas or certificates for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Allegany College of Maryland

At the college’s Bedford campus in Everett, commencement is scheduled for

7 p.m. May 19 at Everett Area High School.

The college’s Somerset campus will hold commencement at 7 p.m. May 22 at Shanksville-Stonycreek High School.

Graduating students will be the speakers at both ceremonies and will speak on their college experiences. Speakers have not yet been selected.

The number of graduates is still to be determined.

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