On Saturday, a large crowd gathered in Beeghly Center to celebrate what some Youngstown State University administrators deemed the best day of the academic year — commencement.
“Commencement’s the best day on the calendar. We get to celebrate all of our student success. That’s what it’s all about,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “These [students] are the best of the best; they’re the brightest kids in the Valley, and they have a great opportunity for success ahead of them.”
Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, echoed this sentiment and also made positive comment on the outgoing class.
“Commencement is the best day of the year,” Fahey said. “They’re going to be hard to replace. It’s a great class that’s leaving us.”
Bob Shroder, senior vice president for Catholic Health Partners and president and CEO of Humility of Mary Health Partners, was the featured speaker at Saturday’s graduation ceremony.
Shroder congratulated this year’s graduates and shared with them his “dad-isms” — or the pieces of advice that Shroder has imparted on his own three children.
Shroder encouraged graduates to cope appropriately with both success and failure, to make the best out of bad situations and to work together as a team.
“I’m going to give you three dad-isms which I do think made a difference in my life and apparently in my children’s lives,” Shroder said.
Melissa Wasser, a graduating senior, addressed her classmates at commencement. She advised graduates to value the education they have received from YSU and to look forward to the future.
“Because of this university — Youngstown State University — we are absolutely prepared and ready for whatever is thrown at us. The best thing we can do is use the knowledge that we have gained right here to propel ourselves forward,” Wasser said.
At the ceremony’s close, graduating students expressed excitement to enter the next chapter of their lives.
Jarell Jackson, a graduate who earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, said he expects his education from YSU will help him successfully pursue his professional goals.
“It was a great experience, and I’m happy to have graduated from YSU,” Jackson said. “[YSU has] already helped me get an internship in the field that I want to be in. Hopefully, I’ll have a job soon. I appreciate the opportunity, and I’m glad I made it.”
Alex Mostoller, a graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy, called his time at YSU “awesome” and said that a YSU degree helped bolster his resume.
“Having a bachelor’s degree on my resume — you know, I’m already hired at the Cleveland Clinic — so for them to see that I have a solid degree from a good college, it helps out a lot,” Mostoller said.
Ron Cole, the YSU Public Information Officer, agreed with these graduates and commented on the value of a college education.
“This is always probably the most exciting day on campus. This is what it’s all about,” Cole said. “[A degree] opens up all kinds of doors and all kinds of opportunities. It’s a tremendous first step for [graduates] to move forward in reaching their career goals.”