FALL SEMESTER 2023
PENN STATE ERIE, THE BEHREND COLLEGE
Friday, December 15, 2023
Penn State Behrend Commencement Program — Fall 2023
View the Commencement Program by clicking the "Full Screen" button on the lower-right corner of the Issuu window above. You also can access the program in the file formats below.
- Fall 2023 Commencement Program (PDF)
- Web (Accessible Version)
- Part 1, Commencement Program Text, Below
- Part 2, Commencement Candidates Text Listing
Use these links to jump to a specific part of the program below.
- To Our Guests
- Program (Schedule)
- Commencement Marshals
- Program Notes
- Presentation of Candidates (follow links below to individual sections)
- Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows
- A Note from the Penn State Alumni Association
- Publication Information
To Our Guests
We Welcome You to Penn State Behrend's Fall Commencement Ceremony.
Commencement, the solemn but joyful recognition of the graduates' years of study, is an important occasion to the college and its faculty, staff, students, and guests. The ceremony will be streamed live at behrend.psu.edu so that graduates' family members and friends who are unable to join us at Junker Center tonight may be included in our celebration.
Please silence all mobile devices prior to the Presentation of Colors. When the Processional begins, we ask that you rise to welcome the Class of 2023. Remain standing until all the candidates have reached their seats and during the singing of the National Anthem.
To commemorate this milestone occasion, a professional photograph is taken of each graduate. This photo may be purchased online from LifeTouch using the PhotoDay platform. Text the ordering code 448511GY1223 to 90738 to receive notice when your commencement photos are available to review.
To avoid congestion and to maintain decorum in the ceremony, we ask that family members refrain from approaching the stage when taking pictures.
Commencement takes time and yet has special significance for each individual and family. Members of the audience are asked to remain in their seats throughout the ceremony so they do not disrupt the program or interfere with the special moments of others. Commencement is our most important occasion, and we ask you to respect its significance to the college community and to those who are being honored.
Everyone stands for the singing of the Alma Mater. Guests should remain seated throughout the Recessional to allow faculty, staff, and graduates to exit.
If needed, medical assistance is available at the back of the gymnasium.
Thank you for your cooperation. We hope that you will enjoy the ceremony and celebrate the achievements of our students..
- Presentation of Colors: Pride of Pennsylvania Army ROTC Battalion Color Guard
- Academic Processional
- Excerpts from Pomp and Circumstance, Edward Elgar
- March of the Priests, W.A. Mozart
- Hail the Conquering Hero, G.F. Handel
- National Anthem
The audience is asked to stand
- Greetings: Dr. Ralph M. Ford, Chancellor
- Welcome: Maxwell Limrick ’23
- Faculty Address: Dr. Babajide Osatuyi, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems
- Greetings from the Council of Fellows: Ann Karmazon Scott '82, '99, Chair
- Commencement Address: Thomas C. Hoffman II ’88, Attorney, Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett P.C.
- Presentation of Candidates
- Schreyer Honors College: Dr. Greg Filbeck ’13, Interim Vice Chancellor
and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
- School of Science: Dr. Martin Kociolek, Director
- School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin, Director
- School of Engineering: Dr. Timothy Kurzweg '94, Director
- Black School of Business: Dr. Ozgun Demirag, Interim Director
- Schreyer Honors College: Dr. Greg Filbeck ’13, Interim Vice Chancellor
- In the Bleak Midwinter, Gustav Holst
- Conferral of Degrees: Robert D. Metzgar '60, Penn State Trustee Emeritus
- Alumni Association Induction: Kimberly Kaercher ’99, Penn State Behrend Alumni Society
- Alma Mater: Hannah Gullifer ’25, Kayla Johnson ’27
The audience is asked to stand and join in the singing
- Farewell: Gabrielle Watson ’23
- Selections from La Danserye, Tylman Susato
- The College Marshal
- Dr. Chuck Yeung, Professor of Physics
- Faculty Marshals
- Student Marshals
- Thomas Anderson ’23, School of Engineering
- Madison Dambach ’23, Black School of Business
- Celine Gauge ’23, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Ramesh Komma ’23, School of Science
- Dr. Kenneth Miller, Senior Director of Administration and Student Affairs
- Performed by the Behrend Ceremonial Brass and Percussion Ensemble
- Dr. Gary A. Viebranz, Director of Instrumental Ensembles, Conductor
- Ushers: Lambda Sigma Honor Society and Lion Ambassadors
by Francis Scott Key
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
by Fred Lewis Pattee
For the glory of old State,
For her founders, strong and great,
For the future that we wait,
Raise the song, raise the song,
Sing our love and loyalty,
Sing our hopes that, bright and free,
Rest, O Mother dear, with thee.
All with thee, all with thee.
When we stood at childhood's gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State,
Dear old State, dear old State.
May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State!
The mace, which symbolizes the University President's authority, is carried at the head of the academic procession by the College Marshal. It was carved by a local artist from native fiddleback maple and is engraved with the University seal and Glenhill Farmhouse.
Academic dress had its beginnings in the Middle Ages. When the English universities were taking form in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the scholars were also clerics and adopted robes similar to those of their monastic orders. Caps were a necessity in the drafty buildings, and capes with hoods attached were needed for warmth. The use of academic costume in the United States has been continuous since colonial times. A uniform system was not widespread, however, until about 1895 when the well-defined code of the Intercollegiate Commission was adopted by nearly all institutions of higher learning.
The gown worn by those in the procession represents the degree held. The academic gown has pointed sleeves for the bachelor's degrees, short or regular sleeves for the master's degrees, and round, full sleeves for the doctorate. The bachelor's and master's gowns have no trimmings, but the doctoral gown is faced in front on the sleeves, usually with black velvet.
The standard academic cap is the mortarboard, usually the color of the gown. Undergraduates wear the tassel on the right side of the cap until the moment the degree is conferred.
Hoods are usually worn only for the master's degree or the doctorate, with the doctoral hood being the longer of the two and marked by distinguishing panels. Hoods are lined with the colors of the college or university in which the degree was granted. In tonight's ceremony, Dr. Alicyn Rhoades, Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, drapes hoods over the master’s candidates' shoulders.
Schreyer Honors College
The Schreyer Scholars program is Penn State's University-wide Honors program. Students who have completed the requirements of the program, including an Honors thesis or comprehensive examination, receive an Honors degree. Scholars graduating with an Honors degree receive a bronze medal designed by John A. Cook, professor of art emeritus and noted medalist.
The medal, which bears the inscription "Intellectual Curiosity—Integrity of Purpose—Scholarly Achievement," is presented tonight by Dr. Greg Filbeck, Interim Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students graduating as Schreyer Scholars with an Honors degree are noted with a double dagger (††).
Evan Pugh Scholars
The Evan Pugh Scholars are students who were in the upper 0.5 percent of their respective classes. All have been full-time students for at least four semesters prior to selection. The award is named for Evan Pugh, Penn State's first president (1859–1864).
Advanced degrees granted by the University are of two types, academic and professional.
The baccalaureate degree is conferred after the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 120 credits in one of the four-year majors. The associate degree is conferred after the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 60 credits in one of the two-year majors.
Scholastic Distinction for Undergraduate Degree Candidates
Subject to completion of all degree requirements and satisfaction of minimum criteria, distinction may be conferred as indicated upon the individuals listed herein and upon such others as may meet the requirements. Distinction candidates have completed the required number of credits at the University and are in the top 12 percent of their graduating class in their college. The 12 percent is divided into 2 percent Summa Cum Laude, 4 percent Magna Cum Laude, and 6 percent Cum Laude.
About Penn State Behrend
Penn State Behrend, a four-year and graduate college of Penn State, offers students the resources and opportunities of a major research university in a welcoming student-centered learning environment. As part of Pennsylvania's land-grant university, the college also works to advance the economic, social, and intellectual welfare of our region through research and outreach.
Penn State Behrend—this year celebrating its 75th anniversary—was established in 1948 with Mary Behrend's gift of her 400-acre Glenhill Farm. Mrs. Behrend made the gift in memory of her husband, Ernst, co-founder with his father and brother of the Hammermill Paper Company, which later became part of International Paper.
From the first class of 146 students at what was then known as Behrend Center, enrollment in the college has grown to 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students learning on campus and online in nearly fifty degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. Behrend alumni now number 40,000.
The college ranks among the top public educational institutions in Pennsylvania for return on tuition investment, student-to-faculty ratio, SAT scores, first-year student retention rate, and graduation rate.
More than 1,200 of the college's students live on campus in traditional-style rooms or in suites or apartments. There are myriad activities for students to get involved in outside the classroom, including 140 student clubs and organizations, twenty-four NCAA Division III teams, and intramural sports.
The college has more than 750 full-time and part-time employees, including 350 faculty members in four academic schools. Today's 854-acre campus has fifty-three buildings, from the original Glenhill Farmhouse to the new Erie Hall. Knowledge Park, on the eastern edge of campus, gives companies housed there access to the college's strengths in applied research and technology transfer, while providing internship and job opportunities for students and graduates.
Research is a critical area of focus for the college's students and faculty. Annually, Penn State Behrend funds many undergraduate research opportunities, and faculty members participate in more than $8 million of sponsored research. In outreach, the college has more than two dozen centers, programs, and initiatives serving business and industry, area youth, and the community. Each year, the college contributes more than $175 million to the Commonwealth's economy.
Vision of a Behrend Graduate
Penn State Behrend has a history and future of developing thinkers, creators, and innovators who build opportunities out of challenges, competence out of curiosity, and proficiency out of potential.
We produce graduates who are prepared for success in their professions, passionate about their work, and committed to lifelong learning; who are open to new experiences and diverse perspectives; and who possess interdisciplinary knowledge and a global and ethical outlook—all critical to thriving in an ever-changing world.
We empower our students through highly engaged instruction, research, and out-of-class opportunities, combined with a distinctive Open Laboratory model of learning and discovery that connects students to business, industry, alumni, and community partners—giving them real-world experiences while benefitting these partners.
With purpose, we develop graduates who are widely recognized for the contributions they make to their professions, their communities, and the world around them.
Maxwell Limrick, Welcome Address
Maxwell Limrick, of Erie, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. He completed the Behrend Honors Program and served as a product design engineer in the college’s James R. Meehl Innovation Commons, and was active in Lion Ambassadors, Soccer Club, and other groups. He will be starting the LEAD Engineering Program at Wabtec in January.
Gabrielle Watson, Farewell Address
Gabrielle Watson, of Erie, is graduating with a degree in English and a minor in Communication Arts and Mass Media. While at Behrend, she received the Christopher M. Geitner Award for service, and was active in Lion Ambassadors, Lion Entertainment Board, German Club, Welcome Week, and Alternative Spring Break. After graduation, she will attend the Disney College Program and plans to work in DEI programming or event planning.
Thomas Anderson, School of Engineering
Thomas Anderson is graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. A native of North East, Pennsylvania, he plans to take an engineering role in a manufacturing business and further his education with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. While at Behrend, he was a member of the Materials and Manufacturing Group, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Foundry Society.
Madison Dambach, Black School of Business
Madison Dambach, of Fombell, Pennsylvania, is graduating with dual degrees in Marketing and Management Information Systems. She worked as a lab assistant in the Raimy Behavioral Lab, and her research with faculty was published and presented at an annual conference. She was also named Outstanding Marketing Student for 2022-23. After graduating, she will be working at Otis Elevator Company, with long-term goals of expanding her family’s tree farm and starting a wedding venue.
Celine Gauge, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Celine Gauge, a native of Erie, is graduating with dual degrees in English and Creative Writing. A Schreyer Scholar, she was a recipient of the Perreault Fellowship, through which she completed an internship with a Ugandan nonprofit organization. She was also poetry editor for Behrend’s Lake Effect international literary magazine. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in English.
Ramesh Komma, School of Science
Ramesh Komma, a native of Hyderabad, India, is graduating with a degree in Environmental Science. A Schreyer Scholar, he worked with faculty on carbon capture research. He received the T. Reed Ferguson Award for leadership, and he was active in the Multi-Cultural Council, the International Student Organization, the South Asian Student Organization, and Cricket Club, among other groups. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree focused on developing polymers for carbon capture systems.
Dr. Babajide Osatuyi
Associate Professor of Management Information Systems
Dr. Babajide Osatuyi is an associate professor of Management Information Systems in Penn State Behrend’s Black School of Business. His research explores behavioral, cognitive, and managerial questions, with implications across several information systems—including enterprise and social platforms.
His work uses a variety of approaches, including analysis, in-depth interviews, field and lab experiments, machine and deep learning, and natural language processing techniques to evaluate social media data—leading to research on a range of topics vital to understanding today’s businesses, consumers, and society at large. His work has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Management Information Systems and the European Journal of Information Systems, covering such subjects as the sharing of fake news on social media; the impact of social media influencers; addictive behaviors on social networks; and gamification.
He earned a doctorate in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in Computational Science and Computer Science, both from the State University of New York at Brockport.
Thomas C. Hoffman II ’88
Attorney, Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.
Attorney Thomas C. Hoffman II ’88 has represented thousands of businesses and high net worth individuals during his career as a lawyer and CPA. In his work at Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C., he has helped plan hundreds of business successions for a diverse group of clients, including entrepreneurs engaged in manufacturing, oil and gas, timber, publishing, and other industries in more than fifteen states.
Hoffman started his college career at Penn State Behrend, graduating from Penn State with a degree in Accounting before earning his law degree at the University of Pittsburgh.
This fall, Hoffman was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association. Hoffman also serves on Penn State’s Planned Giving Advisory Council, Behrend’s Council of Fellows Board of Directors, and Behrend’s Center for Family Business, which he was integral in establishing.
In the broader Erie community, Hoffman is a founding board member of Erie Center for Arts and Technology and of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests and is a past executive board member of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. He sits on the board of governors of the Hagen History Center and the board of the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania.
Hoffman and his wife, Paula ’87, are life members of the Alumni Association. They live in Erie and have three adult children—all Penn State graduates.
Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows
Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows members serve as valued advisers to the college Chancellor; as advocates for the mission, vision, and activities of the college; and as ambassadors for the college in the Erie region, across the country, and around the world.
Council members represent a cross-section of business, industrial, service, and community organizations and contribute their professional expertise and personal insights to conversations about the future direction of Penn State Behrend. Members may provide counsel on matters ranging from strategic planning and community and business relations to fundraising and alumni affairs.
The business of the Council is managed by a Board of Directors. Focused activities of the group are undertaken through four committees: Executive; Governance; Council Communications and Engagement; and Development.
Board of Directors
Ann Karmazon Scott
- Vice Chair
- Director Emeritus/University Trustee Emeritus
Robert D. Metzgar
Samuel P. Black III
Bishop Dwane Brock
Christopher C. Clark
Ralph M. Ford
Priscilla H. Hamilton
Thomas C. Hoffman II
Karen Burton Horstman
Brian M. Kupchella
J. Scott McCain
Matthew W. Totzke
Ashleigh E. Walters
Gregory M. Yahn
Halina M. Zyczynski
- Executive Director
Kenneth P. Miller
- Ex Officio Director
Kevin E. Moore
A Note from the Penn State Alumni Association
Welcome to the PRIDE!
Congratulations on your graduation, and welcome to the Penn State Alumni Association—the largest and most powerful alumni network in the world.
New graduates receive a complimentary one-year membership in the Penn State Alumni Association. As you enter the pride, you'll join the ranks of alumni who keep their connection to Penn State strong through membership. We encourage you to stay connected and learn more about the 30+ benefits that are included with your membership.
Membership materials, including your membership card, will be mailed to you after graduation. Benefits are available to you immediately upon receiving your membership card.
Exclusive Member Benefits
Career and Education
- Alumni Career Services: Attend premium Alumni Career Service events for free or at a substantial discount.
- Discounts on Kaplan Test Preparation Services
- Alumni Library Online: Exclusive access to Penn State Libraries Digitized Collections and University library databases.
Members of the Alumni Association can sign up for a personal Penn State email account (@alumni.psu.edu). Accounts are hosted by Google for Education and also include unlimited online storage and a collection of digital tools.
Members receive access to discounts including travel and merchandise at Penn State Bookstore campus locations. They also receive access to discounted health, auto, renters, home, life, long-term care, and pet insurance.
Additional benefits include early invitations to Alumni Association events, access to the Alumni Directory, publications including the Penn Stater magazine, and much more!
To access a full list of membership benefits and to find your local Penn State Alumni Association chapter, visit: alumni.psu.edu/newalumni.
This program contains the list of candidates for graduation as of November 29, 2023, and distinction notations as of November 7, 2023. Subject to completion of all degree requirements, degrees will be conferred as indicated upon the individuals listed herein and upon such others as may meet the requirements.
This publication is available in alternative media on request.
Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. U.Ed. EBO 24-198