Judy Schwank Barry Schlouch President Volodymyr Zelensky

Schwank, Alvernia Trustee Schlouch and Ukraine President Zelensky to receive honorary degrees


Longtime civil servant and Pennsylvania State Senator (11th District)Judy Schwank will focus on her extensive government, education and nonprofit career to inspire the Alvernia University Class of 2022. Schwank, along with Alvernia University Trustee Barry Schlouch and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, will be awarded Honorary Degrees of Humane Letters.


“Senator Schwank has faithfully served the Berks County community over three decades,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “Her efforts and dedication to education helped spark the economic redevelopment in downtown Reading through the Reading CollegeTowne initiative, and her story and message will serve as inspiration to our graduating students.”


Senator Schwank was elected to the Pennsylvania Senate in 2011 and has been a powerful advocate for the people of Berks County in Harrisburg ever since. For the 2021-2022 Legislative Session, Senator Schwank was named Democratic Caucus Administrator. Additionally, she is the Minority Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and is a member of the Aging and Youth, Appropriations, Games and Fisheries, and Health and Human Services committees. Senator Schwank also serves as a Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Local Government Commission. Senator Schwank received her B.S. and M.Ed. in Agricultural Education from Penn State University and completed the Executive Leadership Program through the Institute for Conservation Leadership and the Institute for the Management of Life-Long Education at Harvard University.


"I'm honored and very much looking forward to serving as this year's commencement speaker,” said Schwank. “Alvernia University has a long history of providing high quality education to members of our community and the surrounding area. Its recent ambitious Reading CollegeTowne initiative has further established Alvernia as an institution dedicated to equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in a variety of fields. I have great faith that this wonderful group of graduates will go on to do big things!"


Alvernia has also joined 25 other universities to award Zelensky with an honorary degree for his actions in leading his country through the unimaginable horrors of war.


“President Zelensky’s background as a scholar and perseverance in the face of tyranny exemplifies unwavering leadership and patriotism that has rightfully earned him worldwide recognition and will serve as a great example of servant leadership for our graduates,” said Loyack.


Schlouch, President of Schlouch, Incorporated, has been a business and community leader in the greater Berks and Schuylkill County regions for nearly 40 years. Schlouch’s commitment to fostering an engaging and supportive company culture earned honors from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2000 when it named Schlouch Inc. the #1 Best Place to Work in the state for companies with over 250 employees. He currently serves the university as a trustee and previously served on the President’s Advisory Council.


“Barry’s dedication to the local business community, entrepreneurs and the Reading CollegeTowne initiative will leave an indelible mark on our community for generations to come,” said Loyack.


Alvernia University will honor the graduating classes of 2022 in two separate commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 14, at the Alvernia stadium.


The Commencement ceremony for graduates in the College of Health Sciences and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics will start at 9:30 a.m. The Commencement ceremony for graduates in the College of Business, Communication and Leadership and the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences will start at 2:30 p.m.


A Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2022 will be held Friday, May 13.

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