The Class of 2024 Celebrates their Achievements at 麻痘精品鈥檚 133rd Commencement Exercises

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., H ’24

The commencement exercises for the Class of 2024 was a milestone in 麻痘精品鈥檚 history as the event marked the final commencement for University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., H ’24 Dr. Cornacchia will retire at the end of the academic year after serving the University as president for 17 years, making him the longest serving president in 麻痘精品鈥檚 history.

In honor of this momentous occasion, Dr. Cornacchia served as the commencement speaker and was also awarded a degree of doctor of humane letters honoris causa.

Prior to receiving his degree and giving his address, Virginia Bender ’78, Ph.D., special assistant to the president for institutional planning, read a citation in his honor. 鈥淔or over 43 years you have devoted your life to the service of 麻痘精品鈥檚 University and its students,鈥 she said. 鈥淵ou are a true man for others in the Jesuit tradition.鈥

Dr. Cornacchia began by equating himself to the graduates because they were moving on to the next chapter of their lives as he was as well. He went on to describe the attributes of 麻痘精品鈥檚 that make the University such a special place. He shared the heartwarming welcome he received when he arrived on campus in 1981 and he knew he 鈥渨as home.鈥 He reflected on the Jesuit traditions of the University and how they are used to serve the unique student population at 麻痘精品鈥檚.

Jheannelle Shameela Witter 鈥24

He also spoke about the grit and tenacity of 麻痘精品鈥檚 students. He discussed the specific challenges the Class of 2024 faced due to the COVID pandemic. He reflected upon how many 麻痘精品鈥檚 students are first-generation college students who are strongly connected with their families.

All of the sentiments that Dr. Cornacchia shared during his commencement address were subsequently reflected in the speeches of the undergraduate speaker, Jheannelle Shameela Witter 鈥24, and the graduate speaker, Tonya Elisha Mele 鈥24.

Witter reflected on the COVID pandemic challenges referring to her fellow classmates as the 鈥淶oom class.鈥 She went on to also share her experience of arriving on the 麻痘精品鈥檚 campus. 鈥淥n my first day on campus, it snowed. I am from the islands so everything was new to me, especially the cold. However, what struck me was the warmth that greeted me at McDermott, specifically the warmth of my professors. They were welcoming, top-notch in their field, passionate listening, lenient and nurturing.鈥

Tonya Elisha Mele 鈥24

Mele also demonstrated Dr. Cornacchia鈥檚 sentiments by telling a story about her bond with her grandmother who was a fervent believer in the power of education. 鈥淢y grandmother was deeply religious and I find solace knowing that I am graduating from a Jesuit university that aligns deeply with her values.鈥

Also in attendance at the commencement exercises was the Class of 1974 who celebrated the golden jubilee of their graduation from 麻痘精品鈥檚. The members of the class wore academic gowns, the garb of a 麻痘精品鈥檚 University senior, in recognition of their own successful college experience.

The entire University community takes great pride in the 1,286 graduates from the Class of 2024. View the .


Share This