Bucks County Community College celebrated its 54th annual commencement on Thursday, May 28, in a first-ever virtual ceremony featuring Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, Bucks County Commissioner, as keynote speaker.
The prerecorded ceremony, produced to honor more than 1,000 graduates as buildings remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, premiered on the college’s website bucks.edu, and simultaneously on the college’s YouTube and media channels. The ceremony, which included announcing every graduate’s name and showing their picture if available, can be viewed on youtube.com/BucksCCC.
Bucks County Community College President Stephanie Shanblatt, Ph.D., presided over the ceremony, introducing each speaker and conferring degrees.
“Education…will open doors, and help keep you safe.”
Marseglia’s message to the class of 2020, whose semester was shifted to remote learning in March amid the pandemic, was about the importance of kindness, truthfulness and working for justice.
“As we walk through our lives, whether we face a personal or public crisis, we have to rely on our strengths, Marseglia said. “Education is one of them, and it will open doors and help keep you safe.”
She also urged graduates to share their talents and newly acquired knowledge close to home.
“Stay in Bucks County; we need you!”
Marseglia recently began her fourth term as Bucks County Commissioner, and in January was named Chair of the Board of Commissioners. The clinical social worker and lifelong county resident worked with children and families for more than two decades. As commissioner, Marseglia has championed programs including Code Blue, specialty courts, and Crisis Intervention Training, among others. For several years, she has been an adjunct instructor in Bucks’ Social and Behavioral Science Department.
The class of 2020, which earned 899 associate degrees and 109 certificates, also heard from one of its own. Evan Brooks was selected to address his classmates in recognition of his outstanding academic and campus achievements.
The Perkasie resident urged fellow graduates to approach the future with introspection, asking, “what will make you feel fulfilled in life,” especially amid this historic semester and first-ever virtual graduation.
“We have been given a new opportunity and direction of what learning means and how to learn, presented during these unique circumstances,” Brooks reflected. “It has instilled in us a higher level of responsibility to oneself to learn, and to get work done, forcing us to think of new ways to accomplish the same goals we had in mind.”
Brooks earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts: General Emphasis with honors, and intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business and economics. The Pennridge High School graduate plans to then get more involved in politics, eventually running for office, in order “to provide the best solutions, no matter their political origin, to the problems at hand.”
Brooks already had a taste of politics at Bucks, serving as president of the Student Government Association. He also was active in the Upper Bucks Campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and several other clubs. He co-founded three new clubs, including Students Talking Politics and the Debate Club, and helped revitalize the Honors@Bucks club. His academic success combined with campus involvement earned him the President’s Cup award from Shanblatt this year. Brooks, who has 10 siblings, also volunteers as a docent at Pearl S. Buck International.
In addition, the Bucks County Community College Alumni Association presented its Alumni Achievement Awards during the ceremony to the following:
– President’s Distinguished Service Award – Dr. John Woznicki, ‘87, academic administrator and Delaware Valley University faculty member
– Community Service Award – David Feinman, ‘13, entrepreneur and community volunteer
– Professional Achievement Award – Glenn Bostock, ‘81, entrepreneur
– Centurion Award – Marianne Kepler, ‘83, Bucks faculty member
As has been the tradition at the 56-year old college, the ceremony recognized distinguished retiring faculty members, bestowing upon each the title of Professor Emeritus/Emerita. Retiring professors are:
– Susan Darrah, Language & Literature
– John Dilcher, Business & Innovation
– Gail Donegan, Health Sciences
– Dr. William Ford, Social & Behavioral Sciences
– Maryann Klicka, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
– Marzenna Ostrowski, Learning Resources
– Robert Porche, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
– Linda Rehfuss, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
– William Yorke, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math