First Responders Make History at Neumann University Commencement

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A few Neumann University graduates
A few Neumann University graduates are all smiles after receiving their degrees.

Thirty-one first responders recently made history at Neumann University’s Commencement Exercises, as they are the first to complete the school’s online Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety Administration, a program designed specifically for firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians.

The 31 graduates include 14 members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, as well as Upper Darby and Philadelphia police officers, and even an EMS from Idaho.

According to Dr. Jilian Donnelly, Dean of Continuing Adult and Professional Studies, Neumann is the only college in the region to offer this program online. Furthermore, she knows of no other college in the country that requires primary research as part of the capstone project for an online Bachelor’s Degree in this field.

In all, Neumann awarded degrees to 674 students. Graduates received 34 doctoral degrees, 112 master degrees, 523 bachelor degrees, and five associate degrees.

“Neumann University has come a long way since its first commencement in 1967,” said Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, Neumann’s president. “We are grateful for the vision and courage of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who founded this university, and committed to help fulfill the educational goals of traditional and adult students across the Delaware Valley and beyond.”

Brandon Provenzano, a double major in Business Administration and Accounting from Sharon Hill, delivered the valedictory remarks.

“Several years ago my father passed away suddenly,” he told his classmates. “In an instant everything changed. A few weeks ago, my family and I suffered a devastating loss when a room of our home caught on fire and we were forced to evacuate. While devastating, these losses serve as a lesson. Change is inevitable, and at times, comes without warning.

“I believe that one of the most damaging things to our success is the image we have in our minds of how things are supposed to be. To quote a Chinese proverb: ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.’”

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