With an eye toward the increasing role social media plays in our lives, Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. welcomed the class of 2017 at Convocation this week by taking a cell phone photo from the podium and immediately tweeting it.
“You are the new faces of our community and we look forward to your many accomplishments,” Spinelli told some 700 freshmen who, along with family and faculty members, attended the first official gathering of PhilaU’s incoming class on Aug. 22.
Keynote speaker Richard Negrin, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for administration and coordination and managing director, also tweeted photos from the podium, announcing himself as “deputy mayor of the Twitter-verse.”
To the freshmen, Negrin said, “Most of you are preparing for jobs that do not exist yet. You are learning a skill-set to become a problem-solver for the rest of your life and that’s what a Philadelphia University education offers you.”
He also urged students to “get out into the community, make a difference in the city of Philadelphia, we need you.”
NBC10 reporter and PhilaU alumus Vince Lattanzio ’07 told the freshmen that he jumpstarted his career at NBC while working as an intern in the University’s public relations and marketing department. “What you do here and what you learn here will have a profound effect” on your lives, said the two-time Emmy-Award winner and former PhilaU student government president.
“Make friends and learn who you are,” said Lattanzio, who also tweeted a photo from the ceremony. “Have fun and do what makes you happy. All you need to do it seize it.”
At Convocation, three outstanding educators nominated by incoming students were presented with the University’s Centennial Medal.
Arlene Sullivan, a teacher at Morris Catholic High School in Denville, NJ, was nominated by freshman architecture student Austin Dimare. Liane Golightly, a teacher at International Christian High School in Philadelphia, was nominated by biology major Shawn Malia, and Matthew Coulson, a teacher at Howell High School in Farmingdale, N.J., was nominated by architecture major Lauren Ransom.
“I have been Shawn’s teacher for three years, and to be honored by this University, having been nominated by Shawn, is such an honor,” Golightly said.
Ransom, who introduced her former teacher at the ceremony, said, “Mr. Coulson is a hero. He tirelessly works with students to improve themselves.”