Penn State Brandywine celebrates graduates at spring commencement ceremony

Amelia Brooks, Brandi Johnson, Nikki Velez , Ginamarie McNamee and Hope Coacher.
Image via Mel Epps, Penn State Brandywine.
Women's basketball players from the Classes of 2020 and 2022 were among the participants in Penn State Brandywine's commencement ceremony.

More than 90 graduates received their bachelor’s degrees at Penn State Brandywine’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7 in the campus gymnasium.

The spring commencement also included a celebration of 2020 graduates, who did not have an in-person commencement ceremony due to the pandemic.

Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells addressed the 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.”

“You exemplify our vision — ‘Penn State Brandywine will be a leader in student success, known for educating students to become valued professionals, leaders, creators, alumni, and citizens,’” she added.

The graduating student addresses were given by Vidhi Dwivedi, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences, and Himani Vommi, who earned a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations.

Dwivedi spoke of letting go of rigid expectations and embracing the unknown.

“Although we may be lost in life, we are all actively moving forward in uncharted territories, molding our identities, building upon our resiliency, and making choices that no one else has ever made,” Dwivedi said. “We have always been told that we must know what to do, but by being lost in life is when we truly know what we want to do.”

Vommi shared the challenge of navigating between the culture of her immigrant parents and her current environment.

“As many of us here can relate, growing up in the U.S. to immigrant parents presents a unique challenge — we have to pick and choose how much of our parent’s culture we keep, and how much we take from our school, our friends, and the environment around us,” Vommi said. “For the first time, thanks to Brandywine, I was able to celebrate my culture with other students from around the world by helping put together wonderful Holi and Diwali celebrations.”

Wells and Assistant Director of Academic Affairs Patricia Hillen conferred the degrees.

Hillen then recognized the graduates in attendance from the Class of 2020.

“We are happy to host them on campus, and reunite them with the faculty and one another,” she said. “Recall that these adults were students who had completed several years of studies, were actively involved in athletics, student organizations, campus jobs, completing internships — and then with just seven weeks left in the spring semester, they were notified that we were all required to vacate the campus.”

 “The Class of 2020 has not sat on their laurels,” Hillen said. “They have been out in the world, building careers and developing networks. At long last, we can celebrate them appropriately for their successes.”

Penn State Brandywine, with 1,300 students, is a residential campus 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.

You can see the Penn State Brandywine commencement ceremony here.