On Saturday, May 18, 746 students gathered to receive long-awaited bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during Wilkes’ 66th annual Spring Commencement ceremony, held for the first time in six years on campus at the Arnaud C. Marts Center.
In another change for this year, two separate ceremonies were held; one for graduate students that began at 10a.m. and one for undergraduate students that began at 2p.m. Graduates in both ceremonies marched down South Franklin Street from the University Center on Main Street and entered to the joyous music of bagpipers leading the procession.
Chairman, President and CEO of Expert Global Solutions Inc. Ronald Rittenmeyer delivered a commencement address at both ceremonies. Rittenmeyer, a 1972 Wilkes graduate, received a doctor of humane letters at the undergraduate ceremony.
At the graduate ceremony, an honorary doctorate was awarded to Pauline Montgomery, a pharmacist, community activist and owner of Montgomery’s Pharmacy in Hughesville, Pa. Montgomery also served on the Hughesville town council, as mayor for 20 years and a Lycoming county commissioner. She was the first woman to serve in each of these capacities in Lycoming County.
Eugene Lucas, a graduate student in the doctorate of nursing practice program, delivered the student greeting at the morning graduate ceremony. Melanie Nolt, a senior finance and accounting major, addressed the afternoon undergraduate ceremony as the student speaker. Nolt, the recipient of the Alumni Award for Leadership, took an unusual turn for her speech by performing a rap she wrote congratulating the class of 2013 on their successes.
Also awarded at the undergraduate ceremony were the Mable Scott and Sterling Leroy Wandell awards to the men and women with the highest grade point average during their four years at Wilkes. Biology major Christopher Bartlow, electrical engineering major Nicholas Watkins, elementary education major Abigail Kaster and biology major Jacquelyn Gallo, all seniors, received the award.