Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. received the Honorary Degree Doctor of Letters June 28 from Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in recognition of his distinguished service to education.
Spinelli said he is honored to receive the honorary degree and be part of the Ulster University family. “Your mission is noble and your work important,” he said. “Ulster University and Philadelphia University spring from the same educational DNA. Both institutions are driven to turn our students’ passions into rewarding professional careers.”
In addressing the Class of 2016, Spinelli told graduates to be the architect of their future and consider creating a “commercial about a product called me” for how they would want the world to see them.
“You have to have the courage and fortitude to be different,” he said. “Common is boring and unfulfilling. Being average means you follow the well-trodden path. The path less taken can be a bit scary, but it is made a road by your knowledge, passion and commitment.”
Ulster University has an international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement and continues to make a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland.
Other individuals awarded honorary degrees include David Benioff and Daniel B. Weiss, co-creators of the wildly popular TV show “Game of Thrones”; civil rights campaigner Ivan Cooper; and environmental conservationist and maritime historian Robin Ruddock.
“Thousands of students graduate from Ulster University each year, all looking to the future and ready to make a positive impact across society,” said Paddy Nixon, Ulster University vice chancellor. “Each of our honorary graduates has a special relevance and connection to the aspirations of today’s students. [They] not only represent the diversity of the sectors in which our graduates are employed, they represent the determination, confidence, talent and creativity which we know our students can and will emulate as they progress in their chosen careers.”