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Spring Commencement is Saturday, May 5; Commencement stories included

5/2/2012 —

Penn State Mont Alto will hold its 2011 Spring Commencement this Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 10 a.m. in its Multipurpose Activities Center (gymnasium). The address will be given by Franklin County Commissioner Robert Ziobrowski, also a member of the campus’ Advisory Board. The campus has been graduating students for more than 100 years. This year, Penn State Mont Alto expects to recognize 152 students for completing both associate and bachelor degrees. About half of this year’s graduates are adult learners (24 years of age or older), and their ages range from 19 to 55.

Interesting stories from the graduating class follow.

Jennifer S. Cleveland will be recognized for obtaining a bachelor’s degree with Highest Distinction (3.96+ Cumulative GPA) in Letters, Arts, and Sciences (LAS). The Liberal Arts degree prepared her for the next step in her goal – to become a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). Cleveland has been accepted into a doctoral program at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Tempe, AZ. Among her achievements at Penn State, Cleveland was the recipient of the campus’ Evan Pugh Scholars Award, the Academic Achievement Award for LAS, and she won multiple awards at the Penn State Mont Alto Academic Festival last month for her submitted art works.  According to the SCNM website, Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care. Cleveland became interested in the profession after battling some health problems for years. She says, “I started studying nutrition and acupuncture. Then I met a naturopathic doctor two years ago, and I knew I’d found my passion.”

Kay A. Dawson is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She will be recognized with High Distinction (3.86+ Cumulative GPA), and happens to be the oldest graduate of this year’s class. In her own words, “50 is the new 30, right?” Dawson previously received an associate’s degree (RN) in Nursing from Penn State Mont Alto in 2003 with High Distinction.  She is a nurse at Chambersburg Hospital. Dawson attained multiple honors this year, including the Mont Alto Baccalaureate Degree Academic Excellence award, the Academic Excellence in the RN to BS Program award, and a first place award at the Penn State Mont Alto Academic Festival last month.

John-Patrick K. Arey will be recognized for an associate’s degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. This program requires 16 weeks of clinical education in addition to two years of class and lab work; all OTA students are recognized prior to actual graduation when the campus holds its commencement ceremony. Arey will be recognized with Highest Distinction (3.96+ Cumulative GPA), and he was a recipient of the Academic Achievement Award in the OTA program this year. He also happens to be the only male in a cohort with 19 women.

Penn State Mont Alto has approximately 1200 students. The campus offers six baccalaureate and eight associate degree programs, as well as the first two years of more than 160 Penn State degrees.


Members of the media are invited to attend the commencement ceremony on May 5. Please contact Kristie Fry at 717.749.6112 or kfry@psu.edu to confirm attendance.

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