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Turning the Tassel: Congratulations, Class of 2023

by Paige Dormann May 20, 2023

The Class of 2023 is officially out of the classroom and rejoicing in the conferral of their hard-earned degree. 

The Commencement celebrations kicked off with a special baccalaureate ceremony with the statue of Jesus the Teacher as the backdrop.

“(The Mass’s location) of course shows our relationship with faith and knowledge going hand and hand with the power of the Holy Spirit’s continual guidance,” commented Father Daniel Lannen, OSFS, University chaplain. “In the Mass, we celebrate as a faith community that we have been blessed to learn in grace and wisdom, with this spirit moving through our prayer of the Mass and then moving our community forward to be who we are and be that well.” 

The next morning, May 20, 2023, DeSales University honored the class at the 54th Commencement ceremony held at the PPL Center in Allentown.

Caroline McGrath ’23, class president and biology graduate, urged her peers to continue to uphold the values of DeSales and serve others, never forgetting their connections to our campus community.

“The ability to show gentleness, humility, gratitude, hospitality, and wisdom, are skills we learned at DeSales and ones we will carry with us far beyond our days here,” said McGrath. “By taking these values and our education with us to post-graduate life, we will be able to enact positive change in the world around us to help others ‘be who they are and be that well.’”

Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, Ed.D., president, described the Class of 2023 as the COVID Class, having overcome countless obstacles throughout the pandemic to truly embody the spirit of being ready for anything.

Quoting Pope Francis, he said that "Perhaps the mission of the university is to train social poets, men and women who, upon learning the grammar and vocabulary of humanity, have a spark, a brilliance that allows them to imagine the unknown."

He concluded on an optimistic note; “Enjoy the relay of your life. Carpe all your diems. Keep the faith. Be generous with your time, your talent, and your treasure–especially to your alma mater–and you will truly be ready for anything. Just remember; whatever happens in your life you will be in our prayers at DeSales University. You will always have a home here to come back to, to renew your heart, and to refresh your spirit.”

Fr. Greenfield conferred degrees upon 429 graduate and undergraduate students. An additional 136 students, who have either already received their diplomas or who will be receiving them in the next several months, also were recognized.

Once the diplomas were presented, Robert Blumenstein, Ph.D., interim provost, dean of undergraduate education, announced the recipients of this year’s awards:

  • Annabelen Guerin ’23 received the Provincial Medal of Honor, which is presented by the Very Rev. Jack Kolodziej, Provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, to the graduate who best exemplifies the spirit of St. Francis de Sales.
  • Xavier Gordon ’23 received the President’s Medal, which is presented by Fr. Greenfield to a graduate who has attained intellectual maturity consistent with his or her talents.
  • Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D., assistant provost, professor of forensic psychology, was presented with the Provost’s Faculty Excellence Award for excellence in Scholarship and Professional Growth, as demonstrated through outstanding pedagogy and instructional practices both in the classroom and beyond.

During the ceremony, Architect Robert Breslin, who designed many of the University’s buildings and passed away on March 7, 2023, received a posthumous honorary doctorate in recognition of his influence on campus. Kathleen Kund Nolan ‘79, chair of the Board of Trustees, accepted the award on behalf of Breslin’s family and discussed the upcoming construction of the Breslin Welcome Center on campus.

Congratulations, Class of 2023!

For more on Commencement 2023, including a wall of social media posts and the live stream of the ceremony, visit