Six ceremonies took place over Memorial Day weekend to honor the Class of 2021.
Wilkes University awarded nearly 700 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at its 74th spring commencement ceremonies on May 28, 29 and 30. The nearly 700 degrees awarded this weekend brings Wilkes University’s 2020-21 total degree conferrals to over 1,200. The activities for the class of 2021 mark the first commencement for Greg Cant, seventh president of Wilkes University.
To honor those earning their degrees and accommodate their families, six ceremonies for students receiving doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees were held throughout the weekend. Each graduate was issued a select number of tickets to their ceremony, with approx. 700 total attendees at each ceremony. All attendees wore face masks for the health and safety of others.
Ceremonies were held in the McHale Athletic Center in the University Center on Main, 169 S. Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. As weather permitted, the traditional procession of graduating students led by bagpipers processed from the Arnaud C. Marts Sports and Conference Center on South Franklin Street to the Campus Gateway, where graduates entered the McHale Athletic Center.
Wilkes alumnus Bill Miller, chair of Wilkes University’s board of trustees, welcomed the graduates at each ceremony. With ceremonies organized by each of the six colleges and schools, the following students addressed their fellow graduates.
- Earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Maverick Reed, Curwensville, Pa., delivered remarks on behalf of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 28. Reed was the recipient of the Deans Award. After graduation, he will serve as a pharmacist in the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base in San Antonio, Texas.
- Rebecca Evans of Mountaintop, Pa., earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing and delivered remarks on behalf of the Passan School of Nursing at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 29. Evans received the award as the Outstanding Graduate for the Passan School of Nursing. Following graduation, she will work as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Geisinger.
- Juan Astegiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina, delivered remarks on behalf of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. He earned his Bachelor of Arts with dual majors in political science and international relations. Astegiano received the award forOutstanding Graduate for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award in Political Science, and the Honors Program Scholarship Award. Following graduation, he will pursue his master’s degree in Economic Policy and Global Markets at Central European University in Vienna, Austria.
- Kierstin Parricelli, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., earned a Bachelor of Arts in middle level education and delivered remarks on behalf of the School of Education at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. Parricelli was the recipient of the Outstanding Middle Level Education Award in the School of Education. Parricelli completed her studies in December and is now an eighth grade science teacher at Commonwealth Charter Academy.
- Jasmin Patel of Clarks Summit, Pa., earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and delivered remarks on behalf of the College of Science and Engineering at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 30. Patel was named the Outstanding Scholar in Biology. Following graduation, she is attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
- Kara Dooner, West Pittston, Pa., earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and delivered remarks on behalf of the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 30. Following graduation, she will pursue her career as an accountant.
The following awards were presented to students at the ceremonies:
Mabel Scott Wandell Award and Sterling Leroy Wandell Award
The Mabel Scott Wandell and the Sterling Leroy Wandell awards are presented to the woman and man in Wilkes University’s graduating class with the highest grade-point averages.
The graduates listed below are the 64th, 65th and 66th graduates to earn perfect 4.0 grade point averages in Wilkes history.
Marcy Ledvinka, Parkton, Md., earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, summa cum laude, in musical theater. She graduated with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average. Ledvinka was the recipient of the Musical Theater Award from the Department of Performing Arts and the Honors Program Academic Distinction Award. While at Wilkes, she was an ambassador for the admissions office, a member of the Honors Program and was cast in 13 theater productions. Following graduation, she will start her career teaching theater to youth. She is the daughter of Joyce and Edmund Ledvinka.
Juan Astegiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina, earned the Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in political science and international relations. He graduated with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average. Astegiano was an honors student and received the award forthe Pi Sigma Alpha Award in Political Science and the Honors Program Scholarship Award. He was also named the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Following graduation, he will pursue his master’s degree in Economic Policy and Global Markets at Central European University in Vienna, Austria. He is the son of Viviana and Fabio Astegiano.
Nicolas Lorenzo, Howell, N.J., earned the Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, with majors in mechanical and electrical engineering. He graduated with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average. Lorenzo was a member of the men’s lacrosse team and was the male Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was also the recipient of the Dr. Umid R. Nejib Award for Outstanding Achievement in Electrical Engineering, the Top Academic Performer in Mechanical Engineering and was the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Science and Engineering. Following graduation, he will pursue his master’s degree in electrical engineering as he begins his career as an engineer.
Teresa Jordan and Frank Mehm Prize – Jason DeBoard, Avoca, Pa.
The Mehm Prize is awarded annually to the undergraduate who most nearly represents the ideal respecting moral courage, unselfishness and noteworthy extracurricular participation significantly advancing the University on and off campus.
The activities and contributions of Jason DeBoard, Avoca, Pa., are noteworthy. He served as president of Commuter Council, president of the Wilkes Chapter of the American Medical Student Association and vice president of the study abroad club. He was also a resident assistant, a member of the wrestling team, an e-mentor for first-year students and a student government representative. As a student, he studied in Greece where he shadowed physicians and health care providers. He was named the Outstanding Research Student in Biology.
DeBoard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, with majors in biology and neuroscience. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in biotechnology from the Johns Hopkins University. He is the son of Lynn and John DeBoard.
Alumni Leadership Award – Alanah Guerrero, Frackville, Pa., and Richard Ermeus, Sparta, N.J.
The Alumni Leadership Award is given by the Wilkes University Alumni Association to the member of the graduating class considered to have made the strongest contribution to student life and the student activities program of the University.
Alanah Guerrero, Frackville, Pa., graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Guerrero served as president of Student Government for the 2019-20 academic year. She was also a resident assistant, an e-mentor to first-year students and orientation coordinator. Guerrero was the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award in the Passan School of Nursing. Following graduation, Guerrero will begin her career as a registered nurse at Bayhealth in Dover, Del. She is the daughter of Heather Sborz.
Richard Ermeus, Sparta, N.J., graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in marketing. He was the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Marketing and was named the Outstanding Graduate for the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. Ermeus played for the Wilkes football team, was an admissions ambassador, an e-mentor and a resident assistant. He was also the president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board in the Sidhu School. Following graduation, he will continue at Wilkes in pursuit of his MBA. He is the son of Francklin and Sauseth Ermeus.