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April 23, 2012

Colleges line up speakers

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:

Pitt-Johnstown

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.

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