Skip to main content

An Amazing Milestone: Congratulations, Class of 2024

by Janelle Hill M’23 May 18, 2024
Commencement 2024

A rollercoaster of an experience. 

That’s how Nidhi Kumar ’24, senior class president, described the Class of 2024’s four years at DeSales University during the 55th Commencement ceremony at the PPL Center.

“Today is an amazing milestone for all of us,” Kumar, a biology graduate, said. “Today is an accumulation of everything that we have accomplished over the past four years. The papers we’ve written, the exams we’ve taken, and the classes we passed.”

Kumar, who is from Massachusetts, told her fellow graduates that she came to DeSales because it was one of the only schools still open for in-person classes in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the University, she said, made every effort to make sure students didn’t miss a thing.

“We have been encouraged to try anything and everything at DeSales. We are truly so blessed to have had such a transformative education here where we are encouraged to learn and to make mistakes in a safe place.”

 Nidhi Kumar ’24, senior class president

Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, Ed.D., president, addressed the class with what he called the usual graduation advice—follow your passion, listen to your inner voice, take risks, be true to yourself, your future is limitless.

“And there is no greater trite phrase in a Commencement address than to tell you, the graduates, to follow your dreams,” he said. “Yet all of these cliches depend on you doing all the work. Trusting in our Catholic, Salesian mission, our lives are not just about what we do, but who we are as children of God.”

Fr. Greenfield then encouraged the graduates to say three simple one-word prayers each and every day—help, thanks, and wow—inspired by Anne Lamott, the novelist and nonfiction writer. He also referenced James Baldwin, the writer and civil rights activist, who noted that the world is held together by the passion of relatively few people. 

“You, Class of 2024, may just be the few people who will inspire gentleness, humility, gratitude, hospitality, and wisdom—our University core values—in others to ignite the power of extravagant tenderness in our world.” 

Fr. Greenfield then conferred degrees upon the 450 undergraduate and graduate students. An additional 100 students, who have either already received their diplomas or who will be receiving them in the next several months, also were recognized. 

Once all of the diplomas were handed out, Terese Wignot, Ph.D., provost, announced the recipients of this year’s awards: 

  • Jaimason Lacasse ’24, a sport and exercise physiology major, received the Provincial Medal of Honor, 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.
  • Harkiran Bhullar ’24, a computer science and management double major who served as the Student Government Association’s executive president, received the President’s Medal, presented by Fr. Greenfield to a graduate who has attained intellectual maturity consistent with his or her talents.
  • Francis Mayville, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, received the Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Service. 

For more on the Class of 2024, including a wall of social media posts and the livestream of Commencement, visit