"Find something that you are passionate about and work hard. Enjoy life's journey along the way and always remember your responsibility as a graduate of Penn State University to make the world a better place. You are the gift Penn State Brandywine gives to the world. The gift of hope for the future."
These are the words that more than 100 graduates heard from Chancellor Kristin Woolever before receiving their bachelor's degrees at Penn State Brandywine's Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 10. This was Woolever's first commencement since joining the campus in February.
"Stay positive, stay focused and pursue your dreams," she added. "I'm confident that you will succeed."
Commencement attendees also heard from keynote speaker Reneé Amoore, founder and president of The Amoore Group, Inc.
A Bryn Mawr native, Amoore is an award-winning business owner who's known throughout the nation. The Amoore Group (TAG) provides a number of wide-ranging services for clients, such as government relations, public relations and healthcare consulting. She also serves as a strategist for Fox News and CNN, frequently appearing on television and radio shows to share her knowledge regarding the economy, politics and healthcare.
Amoore told Brandywine graduates the story of her humble beginning. Raised in a working class family with seven sisters, she started her career as a registered nurse after being trained at Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. She went on to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees from Antioch University, paving the way to her successful career as an entrepreneur.
"I didn't have it easy. I had an uphill journey. But you can do whatever you want to do if you have a passion for it. You can be whatever you want to be," she said enthusiastically to the class of 2014.
As part of a long-standing Brandywine commencement tradition dating back to 1992, nearly every graduate took a moment to say a few words of their own as they received their degrees, sharing messages of encouragement, love, wisdom and thanks with the audience.
"I would like to dedicate this achievement to my uncle, who passed away yesterday," Matengy Toure, of Collingdale, said through tears after receiving a bachelor of science degree in psychology. "He once told me that the greatest gift that parents and society can give to their children is education. I must say this great country of opportunity has given me that. God bless America."
Cooper Honors Scholar Megan Draper, of Springfield, acknowledged the faculty at Penn State Brandywine for supporting her "unconventional" academic goals. The psychology major traveled to distant areas of the tropical rain forest of Borneo in Southeast Asia, taking part in a seven-week research expedition where she studied the wild population of primates in the region.
"I'm really grateful to Penn State Brandywine. I don't think such an individualized experience would have been possible at other universities," Draper said.
Brooke Sennott, a resident of Brookhaven, accepted her diploma (bachelor of science in business) and then gave a heartfelt speech thanking her parents.
"Thank you to the two most important people in my life," she said. "My dad was healthy enough to come today and that means so much to me. He's gotten through so many obstacles in life and he showed me that we just move forward."
Penn State Brandywine graduates join the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world, consisting of more than 171,000 members.To view and order commencement photos, visit Third Eye Productions' website or call 215-635-1988.