Wheeling Jesuit University Graduates 358 Students During Commencement Ceremonies

  WJU News
  Saturday, May 6, 2017 1:18 PM
  WJU News, Academics

Wheeling, WV

Speaker Offers Graduates Advice as They Navigate Through Life

Wheeling Jesuit University graduates were offered some life lessons by Speaker Patty Briguglio that will help them 'rule the world' someday.

AT RIGHT are WJU President, Dr. Debra Townsley, Valedictorian Morgan Jacobson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Msgr. Kevin Quirk '89 and Commencement Speaker Patty Briguglio.

Briguglio, president of PFB Connect in Cary, North Carolina, served as the speaker at Wheeling Jesuit University's (WJU) 59th commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 6. During the ceremony, WJU President Dr. Debra Townsley conferred 358 bachelors', masters' and doctoral degrees. 

Briguglio, who also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters, offered the class of 2017 some advice as they navigate through life: “Embrace life long learning - the days of going to college, getting a degree and then going straight to work in a high-paying job are over. Technology and globalization dictate that we continue to learn … 10 years ago had you ever heard of a social media specialist, android developer, big data architect, digital marketing specialist, cloud services developer or Zumba instructor?”

She encouraged the graduates to identify a boss that can help them grow. “A great boss will take the time to nurture and develop you. They will find out what your potential is and work to bring that out. The best bosses serve as coaches who are interested in your growth, identifying your capabilities and working with you to develop your abilities.”

As for their helicopter parents - ground them. “Trust me, your employer does not want to meet your parents … If your parents fight your battles, find you jobs, pay for your vacations, and solve all your problems, you will struggle in the workplace,” she said.

Briguglio told members of the class to “find your purpose -strive to find something important in your work. If you get up in the morning excited to go to your job, you will do great work. If you believe in the mission of the organization, you will be a happier and a better employee.”

Her final lesson - “Do what you say you are going to do. The reality is that you are what you do, not what you say you'll do. If you want to be successful in business and in life, you must be impeccable with your word, no matter how small or inconsequential you may think it is … all you have is your word.

“I leave you with a message from us, the Baby Boomers. You've been told you will rule the world and someday you will … that day is NOT today. But, I promise it will come. Unfortunately, older generations are still in charge … You will be much better equipped for success if you learn to navigate the world as it is today - until your time comes and you can change all these silly rules,” she said.

Brigulgio ended by saying, “We see great things for your future and we are hopeful that you can correct many of the mistakes we made. Please don't judge us too harshly. So, go forth into the world and make your mark. You're ready and all of us are here to cheer you on!”

Also during the ceremony, President Townsley told the graduates that Saturday was dedicated to them and their accomplishments during the past four years.

“The paths that you have walked have been unique to you. Many of you have distinguished records in academics, athletics and service during your time at Wheeling Jesuit. Your time here has centered on the Wheeling Jesuit University mission of life, leadership and service … No matter what route you took, your arrival here today is a huge success, and you are to be congratulated. Remember the Wheeling Jesuit University community is yours for life. Keep in touch with us,” Dr. Townsley told the graduates.

Athletic Training major, Morgan Jacobson RIGHT of Concord, Ohio, was the class of 2017 valedictorian. She told her class the Jesuit education they received has prepared them for the next chapter. 

“The education we received made us not only grow professionally, but also individually thus preparing us for our next chapter. In addition, the unique Jesuit education taught us how to be men and women for others. We learned the importance of living a life full of service and leadership and striving to make decisions that would result in the 'greater good.' I am sure that most of us had opportunities to volunteer either on campus or within the Wheeling community during our four years … With our Jesuit education, we learned to find God in all things and to trust his will and guidance in our lives,” Jacobson said.

Each member of the class, she said, should be proud of the hard work and accomplishments they achieved during their time at WJU, and offered her class some advice.

“As you leave Wheeling Jesuit, represent the university well; and don't forget about the friends that you have made along the way, the wonderful professors that have guided and supported you, and the classmates that have become your second family. I am very thankful for my athletic training classmates who helped and supported me to get through all of the highs and lows of the program. Wheeling will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope it does for you as well.”

In addition to recognizing student achievement, WJU presented Dr. Amy Criniti Phillips, assistant professor of English, the Rev. Edward Gannon, S.J. Teaching Award. The award is presented to a faculty member who has distinguished him or herself as an outstanding teacher and scholar, and exemplifies the Jesuit tradition of service to the university and wider community.

Also receiving honorary degrees during Commencement were two Wheeling Jesuit graduates and former Board of Trustee members, William Bresnahan and Adam Monks. 

Bresnahan and Monks, both residents of Pittsburgh and members of the class of 1964, served more than 10 years on Wheeling Jesuit's Board. Bresnahan is the managing partner of the Pittsburgh law firm, Bresnahan Nixon & Finnegan, P.C. and Monks is retired after spending 30 years as a partner at Ernst and Young.

Student medals and awards and their recipients that were given during the ceremony include:

Henry F. Pauls Medals for Highest Four-Year Averages
Falon Weidman, Bachelor of Arts
Morgan Jacobson, Bachelor of Science

Wheeling Jesuit University Medals for Second Highest Four-Year Averages
Megan Steele, Bachelor of Arts
Daniel Barker, Bachelor of Science

Anthony T. Basil Medals for Adult Education
Erin Quinn, Highest Average
Angela Goff, Second Highest Average

Russell E. Younkins Medal
Corey Albers, MBA

Mark W. Bischof Medal
Francis Owens

Frank R. Haig, S.J. Science Award
Maire Austin

Katherine Fouts Medal
Morgan Stohlman

Mary Woomer Medal
Kayce Krucki

Archbishop John J. Swint Medal
Seth Yost

Morgan Jacobson

Daniel Barker

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