Ursinus celebrated the Class of 2024 during commencement on Saturday, May 11, 2024.
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A Class of Leaders and Listeners

Ursinus celebrated the Class of 2024 during its 151st commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

HomepageNewsA Class of Leaders and Listeners

Four years ago, members of the Ursinus Class of 2024 began their collegiate careers under a veil of uncertainty. They learned virtually, graduated from high school without an in-person ceremony, and much of the world was still shrouded in masks as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.

“When you started, you surely had to wonder if this day would ever come,” President Robyn Hannigan said. “Well, Class of 2024, let’s hear it! Your moment has arrived!”

Ursinus celebrated its 151st commencement ceremony for this class of graduates in esteemed tradition—under a grand tent on the lawn in front of the stately Berman Museum of Art. As the graduates reflected upon their journey, Hannigan offered a challenge.

“In your time here, you’ve learned the value of asking tough questions and the importance of not accepting easy answers,” she said. “You’ve learned that genuine dialogue isn’t about agreeing but understanding and respecting differing viewpoints. This is more than academic; it’s a profound moral commitment to engage with the world honestly and courageously.”

Hannigan continued, “Today, I remind you that, to lead, you must listen. Remember, real change comes from understanding the nuances and the gray areas. And to understand, you must listen. A leader fights the allure of simple narratives and instead engages deeply with our world’s messy, complicated truths.”

The Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and vice president of community affairs for Independence Blue Cross, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony and was bestowed an honorary doctor of divinity.

Marshall-Blake leads strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to fulfill the foundation’s mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and wellness of the community and is involved with more than 30 professional and civic organizations.

Addressing the graduates, she said, “As you think about what’s next, I urge you to reflect not only on the knowledge you’ve gained as a student, but also on the profound impact you can make beyond school. Ursinus has given you a solid education—a foundation on which to build. But your true potential lies in how you build on that foundation to lift yourself up, and those around you.”

“Every one of you possesses unique talents, passions, and perspectives,” Marshall-Blake said. “Harness those to drive positive change.”

Wilbert D. Abele ’61, trustee emeritus, was also awarded an honorary degree—a doctor of humane letters. Abele and Marshall-Blake were acknowledged during an honorary degree dinner on Thursday, May 10, preceded by the college’s baccalaureate ceremony.

Faculty honorees were April Carpenter, associate professor and chair of health sciences (the H. Lloyd Jones Jr. Award for Distinguished Advising and Mentoring); Tony Nadler, associate professor of media and communication studies (the Laughlin Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement); and Christopher Sadowski, associate professor of mathematics, computer science, and statistics (the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award).

Grace Wurzer served as student commencement speaker, and Daniel Leach introduced Grace and alumni speaker Eduardo Ramos ’06. Diana Cando Torres was student baccalaureate speaker, and Dayna Milner introduced her and keynote baccalaureate speaker Rev. Andrew L. Weber.

Other student baccalaureate speakers were Alexandra Bender, Ean Chasinoff, Iqra Imran, and Nasya Stinson (religious and spiritual life speakers); and Morgan Grabowski, Michael Guiliano, and Becca Laing (Quest speakers).

Wurzer, an English and history double major who will pursue a law degree at George Washington University Law School, said to her classmates, “What is most important is the knowledge of who we are. Making a decision is not about knowing the best outcome, but about knowing our values so that we can choose what’s best for us.”

“The decisions that led to us sitting under this tent at the same time, at the same school, were different; our goals and opinions are all different, and from this moment on, our paths will be different,” Wurzer said. “However, we have all been supported by people who have faith in our abilities like Ursinus had in us almost four years ago. Whether it is a professor, friend, parent, or mentor, each one of us has found at least one person who encourages us to make decisions in line with ourselves. I urge you to remember this going forward.”

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