Westmoreland County Community College 2017 Commencement
Date Published: May 16, 2017
Pictured above are Gena David and Billy Johnson
YOUNGWOOD, PA – Westmoreland County Community College conferred degrees, diplomas and certificates to 918 graduates at its 46th annual commencement ceremony held Monday, May 15 at the Youngwood campus.
The ceremony encompassed graduates who completed program requirements during the summer 2016, fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.
Westmoreland President Tuesday Stanley acknowledged several graduates by sharing their stories and highlighting their accomplishments, including:
- Billy Johnson of Dunbar, a carpenter for 30 years who wanted a career change and enrolled in the Human Services program. While pursuing his associate degree, he wrote a research paper on criminal offenders that he presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held this spring at the University of Memphis. Following his internship at Adelphoi Village, the associate degree graduate was hired by the organization as an on-call counselor. He will transfer to California University of Pennsylvania and extend his research.
- Emily Faulds of Greensburg completed a research project on fighting student hunger, which she presented at NCUR and to the college administration in consideration for implementation. With college approval, her no-cost breakfast program will launch at Westmoreland this fall. The business management associate degree graduate has secured a part-time position in the college’s Grants department.
- Gena David of Latrobe earned an associate degree in nursing, graduating with highest honors. After working in retail and the restaurant industry for several years, the single mom decided to pursue nursing for “the excitement, challenges and opportunities for advancement” the career offered along with the ability to provide a better life for her two children. While at Westmoreland, she served as an officer for the student nurses association and participated on an academic nursing team. She will pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Cal U and was asked to interview for a job at her last clinical rotation site.
The president also recognized the inaugural group of seniors who earned an associate of arts degree through Westmoreland’s College Now program prior their high school graduation: Brianna Bridge, Jenna Deem, Emma Frey, Sheldon Kiser, and Kailee Lear. They may transfer their associate degrees to four-year universities. They are seniors at Ligonier Valley High School and all are transferring their associate degrees to four-year universities.
During commencement, Stanley presented the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award to John F. Swank, Jr of Greensburg, detective sergeant with the Greensburg police department.
Since graduating from Westmoreland in 1997 with an associate degree in Criminal Justice, Swank has worked in law enforcement for 20 years.
He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Law and Public Policy from California University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working on his doctorate in Criminal Justice: Organizational Management.
Stanley said, “We are proud to recognize John as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2017 and to count him as one of our valued adjunct faculty members who has taught Westmoreland students since 2009.”
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