Marywood celebrates grads at 104th commencement


Photo credit/ Jason Ardan

The commencement ceremony was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday May 14 at 1 p.m.

CORRECTION: We previously published that this was Marywood’s 107th commencement ceremony. It was the 104th commencement. We apologize for the error.

Marywood marked a return to normalcy this year with the commencement ceremony for the class of 2022 at the Mohegan Sun Arena, where pre-pandemic ceremonies were held.

Notably absent from the commencement ceremony this year was university President Sister Mary Persico, Ed.D., I.H.M., who missed due to illness. Board of Trustees President Lisa Lori, Esquire, said Persico was “feeling a little under the weather.”

Despite her absence, Persico still had a part in the ceremony through a speech she wrote, which was read by Lori.

“Remember this: when life throws you a curveball here and there, and it will, you will be prepared,” wrote Persico in the speech.

Roles traditionally held by Persico were fulfilled by Lori, and Dr. Renee Zehel, vice president of university advancement.

Commencement speaker Dr. Thomas J. Foley, J.D., wished Persico well in the opening remarks of his address.

“There’s 3,000 people thinking about you right now; that’s gotta make you feel good Sister Mary,” said Foley.

Foley continued his address with appreciation for the parents and guardians as well as other loved ones of the graduates. He asked the graduates to stand, face their families and give a round of applause for their support.

Two Marywood students were honored, one posthumously, for their degrees. Brianna Cruz, who was in the process of obtaining her master’s degree in social work, died last year. Her family accepted the Tourmaline Heritage Award, which is given to students who die while in the process of earning a degree from Marywood.

Lisa Lori told the crowd that Master of Social Work graduate Fernando “Freddy” Felix was watching the livestream of the graduation from his hospice room while his daughter accepted his degree. Felix was diagnosed with cancer last year and was honored during the ceremony as well.

Also included in the ceremony were a handful of graduates from the Class of 2020, who never got an in-person ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students were finally able to wear their cap and gown, walk the stage to accept their diploma and be inducted into the Marywood Alumni Association.

Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies graduate Joseph Elluzzi graduated in January, but returned to walk across the stage at the ceremony.

“It’s great to be here, nice to walk across the stage after all the hard work everyone has put in over the years,” said Elluzzi.

Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology graduate Janvi Patel expressed gratitude for her time at Marywood and gave advice for incoming students.

“I would tell them that this is the best choice that you might make. All the professors and students are so nice. If you come here, I hope you enjoy and good luck to you,” said Patel.

Congratulations to the class of 2022!

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