Penn State Brandywine Graduates 50 at Fall Commencement Dec. 18

Kristen Harootunian.
Image via Penn State Brandywine.
Kristen Harootunian was a student speaker at Penn State Brandywine's fall Commencement ceremony.

More than 50 graduates received their bachelor’s degree at Penn State Brandywine’s fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18, in the campus gymnasium.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells described Commencement as “one of the greatest days in the life of a university,” and a”memorable day in the lives of our graduates.”

“Each generation has its defining moments, and for you, completing your world-class education, undergraduate research, community service, sustainability projects, and internships at leading corporations through the pandemic is your defining moment.”

Kristen Harootunian, who graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in communications, shared her personal story of overcoming addiction and using her experiences to help others.

She is currently a development and alumni intern at Caron Treatment Centers and may continue her work there after graduation.

“Today I can tell you that through Penn State and my recovery, I have found my calling — my North Star,” she said.

“Every time I stand on a stage and share my personal story, it lights my spirit on fire,” Harootunian added. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be standing here in a cap and gown, about to say that I am a Penn State graduate. I now know that I was put on this earth to help people. I can confidently say that I can reach any goal and achieve any dream.”

She told her classmates that they all have the opportunity to leave the campus with “gratitude, kindness, and an open heart to all the opportunities that present themselves to us.”

Casey Siter, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in psychology, was part of the Active Minds club at Brandywine. She plans to pursue a career in human resources or a similar field and attend graduate school.

“We have values at Penn State: integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community,” Sitler said, speaking at the Commencement. “Through the early mornings and late nights of hard work that all of us had during our time as students at Penn State, I feel I was able to understand these values and the roles they play.”

Director of Academic Affairs Wiebke Strehl commented as she conferred the degrees, “For the past 21 months, our fall class of 2021 has demonstrated resilience, flexibility, and a determination to graduate.”

The ceremony included a U.S. Flag on stage and international flags displayed around campus representing the nationalities of the Brandywine students.

Fatimata Bintou Danfa, who graduated in August with a bachelor of science degree in biology, noted how the flags “honor Brandywine’s international students, who come to us from around 60 countries.”

The flags also represent the many host nations around the world to which students and faculty travel for Penn State Brandywine’s global programs.

“Our international students travel thousands of miles to be educated right here, in Media, Pennsylvania, at Penn State Brandywine. It is an impressive journey.”

The Commencement included the singing of the National Anthem by Jemimah Mwaba, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business.

The Brandywine Music Association sang Lift Every Voice and Sing and the Penn State Alma Mater.

About Penn State Brandywine

Penn State Brandywine, with 1,300 students, is a residential campus n Media offering 15 baccalaureate degrees and the first two years of nearly all of Penn State’s 275+ majors.

Find out more about Penn State Brandywine.