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“We made it!” Congratulations, Class of 2019!

by Janelle Hill May 18, 2019

Hundreds of people packed the campus mall to celebrate the Class of 2019 during DeSales University’s 51st commencement ceremony.

“Congratulations, Class of 2019! We made it,” said Gabriellia Nunez Becker, class president, as she welcomed students and their families to campus. “Today, we recognize and celebrate our achievements that we have accomplished over the last four years.” 

Nunez Becker congratulated and thanked Father James J. Greenfield, OSFS ’84, president of DeSales, for always taking the time to listen and get to know students. She also encouraged her fellow graduates to take hold of their lives and live them to the fullest.  

“Our four years here at DeSales taught us not only how to navigate campus but also how to navigate life. DeSales has supplied us with all of the tools we need to live our lives fully.” 

Gabriellia Nunez Becker '19, class president

Father Greenfield shared messages of wisdom from faculty members and asked graduates to stand and thank their parents before conferring the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters on Paul Meiklejohn ’69, a member of the first graduating class of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, and the commencement speaker. 

“Fifty years ago, I recall sitting approximately where you’re sitting today,” said Meiklejohn, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney in Seattle, Washington. “While there have been many changes over the last 50 years, the important things haven’t changed. The Salesian spirit that permeated this institution in 1969 has only been strengthened.”

Meiklejohn gave graduates several pieces of advice: to be confident in the educational and spiritual preparation they’ve received at DeSales, to pursue their wildest dreams, and to have gratitude and appreciate what they have. 

“My hope is that you leave this University confident that you can compete in your careers with the best of those from other schools; that you pursue your dreams with persistence, yet at the same time with openness to what fate or what God’s will might bring.”

Paul Meiklejohn ’69, J.D., L.H.D

Fr. Greenfield then conferred degrees upon the 463 graduating students, including undergraduates, graduates, and ACCESS students. An additional 156 students, who have either already received their degrees or who will be receiving them in the next several months, also were recognized. 

Brother Daniel P. Wisniewski, OSFS, provost, presented the Provincial Medal of Honor, which is awarded to the graduate who best exemplifies the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, to Sarah Knop; the President’s Medal, which is awarded to the graduate who has attained intellectual maturity, to Brendan Graham; and the Provost’s Faculty Excellence Award, a new award for excellence in scholarship and professional growth, to Dr. Stephen Myers.