774 Degrees Conferred During 2018 Commencement Ceremonies

Holy Family University proudly conferred 774 total degrees to future teachers, nurses, social media specialists, business professionals, and more during its 2018 Commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, May 15 at the Kimmel Center.

316 graduate degrees and 458 undergraduate degrees were awarded during the two celebrations.

In her address to the students, Sister Maureen McGarrity, President of Holy Family University, urged the graduates to cherish the moment, but also prepare for the hard work that is yet to come in today’s challenging society.

“You stand at the cross roads of your future,” she said. “Your unique gifts have the potential to inspire, to challenge, and inform. We hope that you will accept and recognize your responsibility and that you will strive to make a difference.”

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Student Awards

During the undergraduate ceremony, Matthew Weed, BA ’18 was presented The Mother M. Neomisia Award while Jenna Brenner, BSN ’18 was presented The Alumni Senior Award.

The Mother M. Neomisia Award was established by the Board of Trustees of Holy Family to honor the foundress and first President of the University. This distinction is given annually to the Senior whose qualities of service and loyalty to the University merit particular distinction. 

The Alumni Senior Award honors a graduating student who best represents the student body through his/her campus involvement, community service on behalf of the University, life experience, and academic achievements.

Weed has accepted a Staff Accountant position with Maillie LLP, a "Top 25" Accounting Firm as ranked by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Brenner is focusing on her upcoming NCLEX exam and volunteering at St. John of God Community Services in Westville NJ, a school for children with mental and physical disabilities. Upon successful completion of her NCLEX exam, she hopes to work in Women's Health and eventually pursue becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

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Retiring Faculty Recognition

Holy Family University honored three of its retiring faculty: Dr. James Huber, Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Patricia Michael, Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Kathleen Quinn, Professor in the School of Education.

Dr. James Huber joined the faculty of the Counseling Psychology Program as the concentration area coordinator for Marriage and Family Therapy in 2011. In that role, he has reviewed graduate applicants, taught courses specific to marriage and family therapy, overseen practicum and internship students, and advised students seeking Marriage and Family Therapy certification. He designed courses in Marital Counseling and laboratory courses in the delivery of psychotherapy with families and children. In addition, Dr. Huber has served as the moderator for Students for Marriage and Family Therapy, a graduate student group dedicated to the field. He has been an active member of the Faculty Development Committee as well as the Faculty Senate Community Service Committee.

Dr. Patricia Michael began her teaching career as a graduate student when she received a National Defense Education Act Fellowship in the fall of 1963. She recalls that the Kennedy assassination was announced while she was in class. Her students looked to her for guidance in how to react. This experience changed her perception of the teacher’s role. Many students have experienced her nurturing style in teaching them not just literature, but the ways in which literature teaches us how to live. After three years in this position and another two years as Chair of the Humanities, Dr. Michael decided to return to her real vocation—teaching. Since 1992, she has been a cornerstone of English education at Holy Family. Her capstone course has become a signature experience for Holy Family English majors. She is also well known for her courses in Young Adult Literature, Victorian Literature, Detective Fiction, British Literature, Irish Literature, and The Modern Novel. In addition, Dr. Michael has served as the moderator for Honors Societies in Literature and in Humanities.

While at Holy Family, Dr. Kathy Quinn’s primary instructional focus has been teaching courses related to reading and literacy at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to supervising countless student teachers and practicum students, she also initiated the Graduate Reading Clinic in 1992 and served as its Director for more than 15 years. She played a pivotal role in the creation of the University’s first doctoral program in Educational Leadership and started two Professional Development Schools (PDS) with the Philadelphia School District, one at the Smedley Elementary School (funded through the Annenberg Foundation) and the other at the Sheridan Elementary School. In recognition of her exemplary service to Holy Family University and its students, Dr. Quinn received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2002.

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Honorary Degrees

Holy Family University presented four honorary degrees during Commencement. Albert Tantala Sr., President of Tantala Associates, LLC, Engineers and Architects; Pamela Rainey Lawler, Founder, Philabundance; Dennis Colgan Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Barthco International, Inc.; and Audrey Evans, MD, a pediatric oncologist and co-founder of the original Ronald McDonald House were selected as this year’s recipients. Holy Family proudly bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to all of the recipients. It is the highest honor that the University grants and is presented to individuals whose contributions to the public good warrant exceptional recognition.

Tantala and Lawler received their honorary degrees during the graduate ceremony while Colgan and Evans received their honorary degrees during the undergraduate ceremony.