Grey skies are a poor barometer for animated graduation ceremony
Outside might have been gloomy and gray but inside excitement soared and anticipation grew. The 293 students of Pittsburgh Technical College’s April 2017 graduating class donned their black gowns in preparation for the ceremonial walk into the auditorium of Soldiers and Sailor’s Memorial Hall.
The soon-to-be-official graduates compared internship experiences, talked about recent job interviews, and made plans for post ceremony celebrations before finding their place in the processional line with classmates.
At 6:07 pm the house lights dimmed, a signal to family and friends who rushed to their seats.
Graduates filed in to the applause, cheers and whistles of a standing audience. Red tassels swayed step by step to the beat of Pomp and Circumstance. And smiling faces graced the large screen as Video Production faculty and students broadcast the march of proud graduates down the aisle to their seats front and center.
The ceremony started with our National Anthem, a fitting tribute in a facility dedicated to the men and women who protect “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Vice President of Education Eileen Steffan welcomed all in attendance, congratulated the graduates, and introduced the Sr. Vice President of Academic Affairs Mark Scott to present the Richard S. Caliguiri Awards.
Twelve graduates joined the 760 members of this distinguished group created in 1981 and named in honor of the late Mayor of Pittsburgh, also a PTC graduate. As a group, the following graduates earned a 3.85 gpa, posted attendance of 98.8%, and set themselves apart in the eyes of faculty.
School of Business
Brittany Webber, Business Administration
School of Criminal Justice
Justin Moon, Criminal Justice
School of Design
Mark Korcok, Computer Aided Drafting
School of Energy and Electronics Technology
Dylan Guare, Electronics Engineering Technology
School of Healthcare
Andrea Osorno-Perez, Surgical Technology
School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts
Kaili Bryer, Culinary Arts
Stacey Jordan, Hospitality Management Administration
School of Information Technology
Michael McKown, Information Technology
School of Nursing
Amanda Hartzell, Practical Nursing
Amanda McAdams, Nursing
School of Trades Technology
Justin Almoney, Welding Technology
Brian Barnhart, HVAC Technology
Then, it was time to announce the J.R. McCartan Award which was introduced in October 2001 in honor of a former PTC President.
“This award is presented to a graduate who has made a significant contribution to the college,” said Melissa Wertz, Academic Chair of General Education and PTC Online, during her presentation of the J.R. McCartan Outstanding Student Award to Justin Almoney, Welding Technology.
“Justin exemplifies character through his ability to take on every challenge life throws at him head on with determination and purpose,” she continued. “He was always the first to class, the first to assist his classmates, and also the first with a kind word, warm smile, and a pat on the back.”
Following the outstanding student awards, each academic chair introduced the graduates program by program, giving each student the opportunity to cross the stage in the spotlight to the sound of cowbells, the flashes of cameras, pockets of applause that skipped from one corner of the auditorium to another, and the occasional cries of infants.
Participating in the evening’s commencement ceremony and marching alongside the PTC graduates were the following students from DuBois Business College and ITT Technical Institute who completed their program of study at Pittsburgh Technical College in a special teach-out arrangement: Ronald Breedlove, Anthony Corsi, Christopher Donaldson, Christian Griffith, Eric Herron and Sebastian Tanley of ITT and Caitlin Burns, Maria Doran, Anna Kustenvorder and Ashley Seelye of Dubois.
President Gregory DeFeo ending the evening by conferring the Associate in Science degrees and certificates of completion as he instructed the graduates to move their tassels from right to left.
As the evening ended, friends took pictures of friends taking pictures of friends. Proud families presented their graduate with bouquets. Young children ran to hug Mom or Dad not recognizing the magnitude of the evening.
Included in the program handed to everyone coming into Soldiers and Sailors was a Special Appreciation brochure that listed personal messages from the graduates to those who supported their journey. Most thanked their family and their instructors for the role they played in making graduation a reality.
“I would like to thank my family for their love and support over the last two years. Additionally I would like to thank my friends, old and new, for being there to help me through the rough patches. I will forever cherish the memories we have made together.”
Lisa Scheib, Business Administration
“I would like to thank my classmates and instructors for always being there whenever I needed help or clarification on an assignment. A special thank you goes out to my family because without them, none of this could have been possible I am extremely fortunate.”
Trent Miller, Information Technology
“I would like to thank my lovely wife, Mindy, for being there for me throughout this endeavor and my close friends here at school who pushed me to be the best I could be. I would like to thank the VA for allowing me the opportunity to better myself.”
Cody McCarver, Computer Aided Drafting.
All in all it was an evening of achievement laced with pride, bolstered by determination, and overflowing with anticipation of the wonderful things to come.
Congratulations to the PTC class of April 2017.