Class of 2017 Celebrated at Commencement Ceremonies

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saint Joseph’s University’s Class of 2017 was celebrated officially on Saturday, May 20, with commencement exercises held on the James J. Maguire ‘58 Campus. More than 2,200 undergraduate, doctoral and graduate students received degrees.

“Now, go and embrace your futures,” President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., told  the graduates. “May learning be a life-long endeavor and commitment to doing good and serving others be worthy pursuits.  As you leave here, know that our prayers follow you, and that Hawk Hill will always welcome you home.”

Madeline Bell, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was the speaker for the morning undergraduate ceremony. Bell received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, along with Cora Marie BillingsR.S.M., a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy for more than 60 years and a founder of the National Black Sisters’ Conference, and J. Eustace Wolfington ’56 (B.S.), a dedicated alumnus and longtime supporter of his alma mater known as an innovator in the retail automobile, car leasing and insurance industries.

“Take a chance and stretch yourself,” Bell advised the undergraduate class. “Don’t take a job for the title. Find your passion. Whatever you have or will choose as your profession, be tolerant and have empathy towards others … and if someone mentors or helps you in your career, always pay it forward.”

At the afternoon doctoral and graduate ceremony, alumna Linda Cliatt-Wayman ’92 (M.S.), principal of Strawberry Mansion High School and noted education advocate, served as the speaker. Cliatt-Wayman also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

“You will be expected to be a leader in your chosen field and in your daily life,” she told the advanced-degree recipients. “And as you lead, because of your Saint Joseph’s education, you will be expected to lead in heroic fashion. Just like St. Ignatius Loyola and his followers, you will be expected to display four values for successful leadership: self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism.”

Other highlights from the ceremonies included a salute to members of the Class of 1967, the Golden Hawks, and valedictory remarks offered by Abigail Gorman '17  (B.A., English) and Cindy Espenshade '17 (M.S., Organization Development and Leadership).

A video of the live stream is available here.

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Director of Communications,, 610-660-3240

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