New event schedule provides improved travel accommodations for graduates’ families and guests

Alvernia University celebrates more than 600 students in the Class of 2024 with a commencement ceremony as a part of a revamped graduating student celebration weekend in front of family and friends.

“This year's commencement carries a profound significance for each one of us,” said Alvernia University President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. “Being together holds a special meaning for the over 400 students here who graduated high school in May 2020, when the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic deprived you of this pivotal milestone. I hope you've had the opportunity in recent weeks to honor this rite of passage. Rest assured, these cherished traditions that you helped create will be here ready to welcome you back to campus.”

Graduates earned associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees as the university celebrated an indoor commencement at Santander Arena for the first time since 2019. Beginning this year, the university restructured its graduating student event schedule to allow for more accessible travel for parents and other loved ones to participate in the various events, which included health science programs pinning ceremonies, a senior athlete award reception, an honors convocation and a baccalaureate mass.

“The Class of 2024 has faced unparalleled challenges, navigating the turbulent waters of the COVID-19 pandemic with unwavering strength and resilience,” said student speaker Cora Cox. “Despite the upheaval it brought to our lives, we refused to be defined by adversity. Instead, we rose to the occasion, demonstrating extraordinary adaptability and perseverance in the face of uncertainty. The world eagerly awaits your brilliance, your passion, and your boundless potential. Go forth and make your mark on the world, knowing that you carry with you the values of Alvernia and the spirit of service, compassion, and humility.”

Longtime public service executive and global engagement leader George S. Rice, Jr. ’85 was presented with an honorary degree of humane letters and shared his experiences through the concepts of language and space to inspire the Class of 2024.

“The imprint you make will set the tone for those who come after you,” said Rice. “They’ll need your vision. My generation and every generation represented in this room… we need your vision. What you’re taking away today from Alvernia isn’t a rote vision to implement. Rather, it’s the capacity to take in all that you experience in order to shape a vision. To use language and intent to nurture that vision. To make that vision the space in which we live. The space where we can all thrive.”

As the ceremony concluded, a scrolling list of names of every graduate, appeared on the newly installed video boards at the arena and Santander Arena, and confetti cannons showered the graduates in maroon and gold confetti.

Alvernia University Class of 2024 By the Numbers:

  • 606 total graduates
  • 503 Pennsylvania Residents
  • 260 Berks County Residents
  • 2,900 miles is the farthest distance traveled for students within the U.S. to attend Alvernia University
  • 130 are first-generation college graduates
  • 18 is the age of the youngest graduate
  • 62 is the age of the oldest graduate
  • 11 graduates are military veterans
  • 8 countries represented by graduating students
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