PhilaU Welcomes New Students at 2015 Convocation Ceremony

Students and their families are welcomed at Convocation by cheering faculty.

Students and their families are welcomed at Convocation by cheering faculty.

Philadelphia University welcomed an excited crowd of some 650 new students and their families at the 2015 Convocation ceremony on Aug. 20.

“Today marks the beginning of your journey of turning your passion into your profession,” President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said in welcoming the students and family members in the Gallagher Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center. “Your options are limitless and we are impatient to see what you will accomplish.”

President Spinelli welcomes new students to the PhilaU family.

President Spinelli welcomes new students to the PhilaU family.

Convocation marks the first official gathering of the Class of 2019 and–for five-year architecture students–the Class of 2020. Students and family members entered the Gallagher Center to a line-up of faculty members and staff in maroon and gray PhilaU t-shirts, who cheered as they walked into the building.

Alumnus Derrick Linton ’11, an architect and project manager at GnP Design Group, encouraged the students to work hard and get the most they can from their PhilaU educations. “Career services is great–I was there updating my resume when I was still a freshman,” he said. “There are plenty of alumni who have great connections in industry, so use those connections.”

“Use all the resources here,” he advised. “You’re on an inspiring path and success will take time, but you will be successful.”

Derrick Linton '11 offered some welcoming advice to students.

Derrick Linton ’11 offered some welcoming advice to students.

Kayleen Kane ’16, Student Government Association president, told her new classmates, “Now it’s your turn to be part of our team. Three simple words define what we are all about here: Powered to Do. Keep that in mind as you challenge yourself to achieve big goals.”

At the ceremony, four Centennial Medals were presented to outstanding high school educators nominated by incoming PhilaU students. The annual awards were created in 1984 by the Board of Trustees to celebrate Philadelphia University’s 100th anniversary.

This year for the first time a PhilaU alumna–Amanda Keeports ’88–was honored with a Centennial Medal.

PhilaU students and Centennial Medal winners (left to right): Barbara Nealon. Usha Baublitz, Florin Firimita, Claire Domogala, Amanda Keeports, Vanessa Fath and Neilah Lizwelicha.

PhilaU students and Centennial Medal winners (left to right): Barbara Nealon. Usha Baublitz, Florin Firimita, Claire Domogala, Amanda Keeports, Vanessa Fath and Neilah Lizwelicha.

“Amanda Keeports’ guidance, creativity and motivation in these early stages of my fashion career have been key factors in my final decision to continue to grow at Philadelphia University,” freshman fashion design student Vanessa Fath said of her former teacher.

“This is a real honor and I was thrilled when Vanessa made her commitment to my alma mater,” said Keeports, who teaches fashion design and textile studies at Washington Township High School in Sewell, N.J.

Three additional Centennial Medal recipients were honored at the ceremony:

  • Claire Domogala, physician assistant studies student, nominated Florin Firimita, art teacher at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Conn.
  • Neilah Lizwelicha, textile design student, nominated Robert Ponzio, art teacher at Oak Hill School in Gainesville, Fla.
  • Usha Baublitz, physician assistant studies student, nominated Barbara Nealon, a science teacher at Susquehannock High School in Glen Rock, Pa.

As the students, many of whom had moved into residence halls earlier that day, prepared to say goodbye to their families and embark on their college careers, they got a parting message from President Spinelli: “Welcome and welcome home,” he said. “I expect great things from all of you.”

Posted in University Headlines