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Misericordia University Winter 2011 Commencement

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Published on Jan 30, 2012

Misericordia University awarded 163 degrees during its 1st annual December commencement ceremony on Monday, December 19, 2011

Among the graduates who received their diplomas Monday were several students who have already secured employment in their field of study, a national award winner in his career field, and a student who will return to campus in the spring as an adjunct professor in the medical imaging department. Many have also given their time and talent to those underserved in various parts of the world.

"What makes Misericordia special is that information and wisdom have a purpose beyond mere success as defined by income and your quality of life," President Michael A. MacDowell told the graduates. "Those who obtain an education at Misericordia graduate with the distinct capability and desire to use their knowledge in the service of others. This passion to serve among those who attend and graduate Misericordia is palpable. It is perhaps the most important attribute we inherit from our founders and sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy. They have entrusted you, our graduates, to carry on that tradition, and which I know you will."
The commencement address was presented by Sister Patricia A. Talone, RSM, Ph.D., vice president of mission services for the Catholic Health Association of the United States. A Sister of Mercy of the mid-Atlantic regional community and health-care ethicist, Sister Talone has also served as vice president for mission services and ethicist for Unity Health of St. Louis, Mo., a subsidiary of the Sisters of Mercy Health System.

In her remarks, Sister Talone posed two questions to the graduates. Asking, "What does it mean to be a college graduate?" she commented, "A college degree provides you with the skills to sift through all of the information bombarding you -- from the print media, television, radio, movies and the Internet - and to determine what is true and what is false, what is fact and what is opinion, and what should be retained and what cast aside. Critical thinking allows you to build upon your own body of knowledge, gleaned from lectures, books, and that greatest teacher of all -- life - so that you commit yourself to being a life-long learner.

"Your diploma states that you have fulfilled requirements that indicate you are capable of academic research, that you can read, comprehend and assimilate your erudition in a way that makes sense to you and can be expressed to others. Like mine, your chosen fields will morph and change over the coming years" she added. "Like thousands of others, you will most probably find yourself in twenty or thirty years facing challenges and tasks you have not even begun to imagine today. The intellectual rigor, cognitive agility and communication skills you have developed and honed at Misericordia University prepare you for those undreamed-of challenges."

Brenda M. Heck of Nanticoke, Pa., a summa cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Imaging, offered student remarks. Heck, 46, is employed full time as the clinical manager at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. A non-traditional student, she began her education and career in radiology more than 25 years ago. While on staff both at Nesbitt Hospital and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, she served as a clinical instructor for Misericordia students. She enrolled at the campus in 2007 to earn her bachelor's degree through the Expressway Accelerated Degree Program. She has recently been appointed an adjunct faculty member for the Medical Imaging department and will begin teaching in the College of Health Sciences in the spring semester. She also plans to pursue her master's degree at Misericordia.

Her words of advice to her fellow classmates included encouraging them to take charge of their lives and accept and embrace the changes that come their way. "The world is moving at a fast pace, and you have the option of resisting change or going with it; don't miss your chance," Heck said. "Change is meant to challenge you, to make you stronger. With change comes fear of the unknown, even sometimes anger, but resist looking at it as a negative force; accept it and recognize it as a chance to grow. Your ability to adapt to changes and convert these changes to opportunity will put you in the driver's seat to succeed. The changes I so adamantly resisted are why I am standing here today."

As did Sister Talone, she also urged the graduates to use their knowledge to make a difference in the world. "We all have the ability to make a difference in the world if we set our minds to it. Life will present us with many obstacles. Don't let these obstacles stand in the way of your dreams and of using your skills to make an impact in this world."

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