Fayette campus holds commencement ceremony

Penn State Fayette alumnus Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, addresses audience
Richard Trumka

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, an alumnus of Penn State Fayette, spoke at the 47th commencement ceremony at the Fayette campus, where academic degrees were conferred on 113 candidates for graduation.

Credit: Penn State

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Charles Patrick conferred academic degrees on 113 candidates for graduation May 6 during the 47th commencement ceremony at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus. The event’s honored guest speaker was Richard Trumka, a Fayette campus alumnus who is president of the AFL-CIO, the largest organization of labor unions in the country. 

Patrick said, “We are honored to welcome Richard Trumka to the Fayette campus to share his thoughts and advice with our graduates and the community. His story is a great example of how education positively affects individuals. Mr. Trumka's start at Penn State Fayette has helped carry him far beyond southwestern Pennsylvania, to a career and life that are not just successful but noteworthy and impactful,” he said.

Taking the podium, Trumka, who followed his father and grandfather into the coal mines, noted that he, like Patrick, was the first in his family to get a college degree. The native of Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, gave credit to the Penn State campus where his higher education began, saying, “And Fayette made it possible.” 

Trumka’s address was filled with fond memories of his college days, which were not easy for him. “I attended classes here while working the midnight shift in the mines,” he remembered. “I’d finish work about 8 a.m. and be on campus shortly thereafter. I drank a lot of coffee.” 

Trumka told the audience that, even in his most exhausted moments, he was learning and growing. He explained, “Fayette helped give me a foundation for life. I learned about what it means to be a citizen. I learned the importance of community. I learned how to listen and engage and understand.” 

After eventually earning a bachelor’s degree from the Smeal College of Business and a juris doctor from Villanova University, Trumka then joined the United Mine Workers of America’s legal staff and rose quickly through the union’s ranks. In 1982, at age 33, was elected as its youngest president. Moving to the AFL-CIO, Trumka, in an insurgent campaign, was elected as its secretary-treasurer in 1995 and president in 2009.

In concluding his address, Trumka told those who were about to be conferred with academic degrees that he suspected they had learned the same lessons about life as he had at Penn State Fayette. “I can tell you from firsthand experience that these tools will serve you throughout your life,” he said, adding, “To this day, I take Fayette with me everywhere I go.”

Following Trumka’s address were remarks by Mercedes Mancera, one of the eight candidates graduating magna cum laude. The others included Danny Bolbecker, Andrew Charnovich, James Garlick, Matthew Howrylak, Logan Lemley, Michael Mullen, and Daniel Sparks. Two other students, Bradley Adams and Emma Lewis, graduated cum laude.

The following candidates for graduation, arranged by degree, participated in Penn State Fayette’s commencement ceremony:

Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Justice

Nicole Broadwater

Megan Coll

Stephan Nieves

Courtney Wesling

Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice 

Sean Cotton

James Garlick

Todd Martin

Brooke Protos

Jesse Varndell

Associate degree in Business Administration 

Shelby Hawkins

Emma Lewis

Daniel Sparks

Emaly Welty

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration 

Courtney Askin

Jerry Baniowski

Anthony Bristol

Dominick Brown

Dalton Coursin

Brandon Cunningham

Natalie Eutsey

Michael Fetsco

Chelsea Guziak

Courtney Haines

Ian Harris

Meghan Hill

Holly Humbertson

Dylan Jackson

Bryan Kibe Jr.

Franchesca Legros

Nicole Lynn

Holly Marcinko

Madison Muilenburg

Elyssa Potter

Alex Provance

Jonathan Puskar

Sean Roper

Sydney Sheriff

Natasha Stansfield

Associate degree in Electrical Engineering Technology

Bradley Adams

Ralph Fisher

Nicholas Gresh

Casey Illian

Joshua Wiltrout

Grant Wortman

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering 

Alexandria Conti

Associate degree in Mining Technology 

Matthew Howrylak

Logal Lemley

David Manchas

Michael Mullen

Caleb Tarosky

Associate degree in Information Sciences and Technology 

Danny Bolbecker

Andrew Charnovich

Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology

Daniel Bowers

Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies 

Teresa Bower

Janelle Cooper

Taylor Davis

Shannon Flament

Victoria Helmantoler

Molly Matthews

Alyssa May

Keera Mickens

Mallory Pasquarette

Nila Sims

McKayla Spurlock

Alyssa Strausser

Justin Tatar

Bachelor of Science in Psychology 

Kelsey Bailey

Patrick Kelly

Mercedes Mancera

Tyler McMaster

Savannah Nassar

Associate degree in Nursing 

Alice Matrunics

Bachelor of Science in Nursing  

Kimberly Heisterman

Lisa Ray  

Kelsey Tyler

Associate degree in Physical Therapist Assistant 

Krista Albright

Rachel Henschel

Michael Kalafsky

Alexander Martin

Madison Mason

Thomas Russell

Ashley Shipp

Nathan Spinetti

Nicholas Strotz

Emily Welsh

Meredith Yonish

Britni Young

William Zeiler