Mount Aloysius College Announces 2014 Commencement Speakers

Posted on: May 9, 2014

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Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley, far right, with 2014 Commencement Speakers, from left, Cindy Skrzycki and David Shribman.

Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley, far right, with 2014 Commencement Speakers, from left, Cindy Skrzycki and David Shribman.

Cresson, Pa. – Mount Aloysius College President Tom Foley announced that a husband and wife team will deliver the College’s Seventy Fourth Commencement Address on Saturday, May 10th in the College’s new Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center.  Pulitzer prize winning-author and executive editor of The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, David Shribman and his wife, GlobalPost correspondent and award-winning senior lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, Cindy Skrzycki, will jointly deliver the Mount Aloysius College Commencement Address.  They will speak on the College’s yearlong theme, “Citizens in the 21st Century -The Common Good.” The Mount Aloysius College academic community, including 400 graduates with their families and friends, will hear their Address.  The couple will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

In addition to Mr. Shribman and Ms. Skrzycki, Honorary Degree recipients include:  Ireland’s Ambassador Plenipotentiary James A. Sharkey—former Ambassador to the Council of Europe, and to Russia, Japan and Australia—will receive the Honorary Doctor of Social Justice Degree;  Mount Aloysius College alumna, Michelle M. McGowan— regionally renowned actress and director—will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

The events of the day will begin with a musical processional performed by A Touch of Brass followed by bagpipes which will lead the procession into the main arena of the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center.   Associate Dean Dr. Paul Farcus will lead the faculty and staff in the procession as he completes his 42nd (and last) year of service to the College.

Bradley M. Mikitko, Class of 2014, from Hastings, PA, will deliver the Invocation for the event.  Mikitko will graduate summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Imaging.  He served the campus community as President of the Medical Imaging Club, as a peer tutor, as a work study in the Admissions Office, and as an Orientation Leader.   Mikitko also volunteers in his home community in Northern Cambria and served in New Orleans with classmates from Mount Aloysius where he assisted in wetland restoration, home repair and after school youth programs.  Bradley was inducted into three honor societies while at Mount Aloysius—Delta Epsilon Sigma, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Lambda Nu Honor Society.

Following his Invocation the Mount Aloysius Chorale Vox Nova will sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Mrs. Rachel E. Wagner, Class of 2014, will deliver the Salutatory Address and welcome her classmates and families to the assembly.  Wagner, of Cresson, Pa., will graduate, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in English.  While excelling in the classroom, Mrs. Wagner has served in leadership roles at the college as a group supervisor at Little People’s Place, a peer tutor, and as a student representative for the Middle States Accreditation process.  She has served as the Student Government Association (SGA) Representative and Public Relations Officer for the Pennsylvania State Education Association since 2011 and as a member of Children’s Advocacy Association since 2012. Ms. Wagner is very involved in the local theatre community in both Blair and Cambria counties, has appeared in multiple productions at the Mishler Theater, on the stage at Mount Aloysius and elsewhere, and she recently directed three plays at the Cresson Lake Playhouse.  Additionally, she is a member of the Education Committee and is an Instructor of Summer Workshops for children at the Altoona Community Theatre.

Chairman of the Mount Aloysius College Board of Trustees, Daniel W. Rullo, Esq. will offer Greetings to the Class of 2014 from the College’s Board of Trustees.  Mount Aloysius College President, Thomas P. Foley, J.D.  will introduce Commencement Speakers David Shribman and Cindy Skrzycki.

Following the Commencement Address, Board of Trustees Member Ann M. Benzel; Mount Aloysius College Vice President for Mission Integration, Sr. Helen Marie Burns, RSM; President Foley and Mr. Rullo will assemble to confer honorary degrees upon Mr. Shribman and Ms. Skrzycki, Ambassador Sharkey, and Ms. McGowan.

President Foley will then formally grant degrees to the Mount Aloysius College 2014 graduating class.  Graduates will then be introduced by Dean of Faculty Dr. Timothy Fulop and Associate Academic Dean, Paul S. Farcus, Ph.D.

The Student Commencement Address will be delivered by Altoona native, John T. Moist.   Moist will graduate, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.  He was a 2010 Mercy Presidential Scholarship recipient and a four year member of the Honors Program.  He has been a member of Campus Activities Board (CAB) since his sophomore year and has served as writer and co-editor-in-chief for the campus newspaper, The Belltower.   Moist also serves as a Student Ambassador, an Orientation Leader, and as the host (for three years and 27 shows) of “MAC’s Got Talent.”  John founded the Political Awareness Coalition of Mount Aloysius in the spring of 2013.  This student club is dedicated to inspiring political discussion and debate on campus.  John has sought opportunities to serve the community through his participation in service projects in both New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Following the Student Commencement Address, Vox Nova will perform the Mount Aloysius College Alma Mater.  Sr. Helen Marie Burns will then offer Benediction.  A Recessional, performed by A Touch of Brass will accompany the Mount Aloysius College Class of 2014, their guests, Commencement principals, faculty and staff from the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center.  The Color Guard for the day will be provided by the Naval Operations Support Center in Ebensburg, Pa.

David Shribman and Cindy Skrzycki are familiar friends of Mount Aloysius College.  During the previous academic year the College explored the theme of Hospitality.  One of the highlights of that exploration was a visit by Mr. Shribman and Ms. Skrzycki when the couple jointly presented “The Hospitality of Writing” to a full-house in the College’s historic Alumni Hall.  And in mid-September of 2011, David Shribman was part of a distinguished panel offering a symposium entitled, “The Role of the University in Civil Discourse” as part of Mount Aloysius President Foley’s Inaugural Celebration.  The transcript of that symposium, together with additional readings and a bibliography on Civil Discourse were published in a widely distributed monograph which was subsequently accepted by the Library of Congress.

Mr. Shribman became executive editor of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2003, after 10 years as the Washington Bureau Chief of The Boston Globe.  He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1995 for his coverage of Washington and the American political scene.  His column, “National Perspective,” is syndicated to more than 50 papers nationally through Universal Press Service of Kansas City.  He is also a contributing editor of Fortune Magazine.

Ms. Skrzycki is a correspondent for GlobalPost, a world-wide news service based in Boston, Mass.  Previously, she was a weekly regulatory columnist for Bloomberg News.  Her column, “The Regulators,” made its debut on the business pages in 1993 covering virtually every business-related regulatory agency.  She was a business columnist for The Washington Post for 18 years before moving to Pittsburgh in 2003.  She also served as an associate business editor at U.S. News & World Report and a Washington correspondent for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Ms. Skrzycki also worked in the Washington Bureau of the Fairchild News Service and was a business writer for The Buffalo News.  She began her academic career at the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 as a journalist-in-residence and has since served as a senior lecturer in the English Department, teaching in the University’s Honors College.  She is the author of “The Regulators: Anonymous Power Brokers in American Politics.”

Cindy Skrzycki and her husband, David Shribman, live in Pittsburgh, Pa.  The couple has been married for 36 years.  They have two daughters, Elizabeth and Natalie.

James Anthony Sharkey, born in Derry, Northern Ireland, is an Irish historian, writer and diplomat.  He most recently served as Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, and chaired the Council’s Human Rights Committee.  He has served as Irish Ambassador to a number of countries including Australia, Japan, Denmark, Russia, and Switzerland. Mr. Sharkey also served as a delegate to the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (the Helsinki Conference). As Ireland’s Charge d’Affaires in Moscow, Mr. Sharkey was Ireland’s first-ever official representative to Russia.  During his service as political counselor in the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C., Mr. Sharkey was instrumental in building U.S. congressional support for the efforts of Northern Ireland political leader (and later Nobel Peace laureate) John Hume, and others, to find a peaceful resolution to the three decades of sectarian strife known as the Troubles.  Ambassador Sharkey earned degrees in Russian and Russian history from University College Dublin and Birmingham University.  He is the author of works on: Scots Gaelic, the folk history of Inishowen, the Russian peasantry, and the writer Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo.  He joined the Irish Diplomatic Service in 1970.

Michelle M. McGowan, a graduate of Mount Aloysius College, serves as volunteer and public relations director for the American Rescue Workers in Hollidaysburg, Pa.  She is well known regional thespian and has starred as the linchpin persona, Lady Misrule, who has reigned over the annual Mount Aloysius College Christmastime Madrigal for nearly all of the show’s 43-year existence.   Her annual dramatic and comedic efforts are considerable—yet another testament to the tradition of community service at Mount Aloysius.  She has been giving back in this way to her alma mater and to the community all these years.  In addition to her efforts on behalf of Mount Aloysius College, Ms. McGowan has appeared in dozens of lead and supporting roles on nearly every stage in the central PA region, and has filled just about every backstage job as well—from stage design to costume management to director.  Her talents as actor and dramatic director are widely known through the southern Allegheny region of southern Pennsylvania.

Mount Aloysius College is one of 17 colleges and universities sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy.  Founded in 1853, Mount Aloysius College offers both undergraduate and graduate education. Since the founding of the College, nearly 15,000 students have become proud Mount Aloysius alumni.  The College is committed to providing small class sizes, and students benefit from accessible faculty and staff. Mount Aloysius students come mostly from throughout Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic Region.  There are over 2,500 students enrolled.

The MAC Commencement schedule can be found here.