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  • Caroline Wilcox

Multiple Commencement Ceremonies Bring Multi-Faceted Speakers

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Mount has broken up the Class of 2021’s commencement into four separate ceremonies. This year, all of the ceremonies have different commencement and student speakers. The commencement speaker who was chosen to speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony on May 15 is Jovita Carranza, a former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Former Treasurer of the U.S. Carranza had a distinguished 30-year career at UPS, where she was the highest-ranking Latina in the history of the company.

During this ceremony, Carranza will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. The student speaker for this ceremony will be Julia Baer (C’21), who is the recipient of the 2021 Edward J. Flanagan Memorial Prize, a prize that is only awarded to one member of the senior class who best represents the tradition of the university in leadership.

Later in the day, there will be another ceremony held. At the 4 p.m. commencement, Richard P. Miller, the retired president and CEO of Virtua and Vice-Chair of the Mount’s Board of Trustees, will be the commencement speaker. Under Miller’s leadership, the healthcare system transformed from a group of community-based hospitals into a technologically-advanced set of regional medical centers. Alejandra Piti-Mesa (C’21), the recipient of the John N. Kolon Memorial Award by demonstrating courage and being an inspiration to the Mount community, will be the student speaker for the afternoon ceremony.

The following day, Gracelyn Ashby McDermott, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, will present the commencement address at the 10 a.m. ceremony. McDermott is Vice President for Marketing, Sales and Business Development at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. The student speaker at the May 16 morning ceremony will be Nathaniel Bald (C’21), who is recipient of the Rev. John B. Holley Memorial Prize, due to him earning distinction in service to the church and community.

To wrap up the ceremonies, the speaker that was chosen to speak at the last commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. on May 16 is Lieutenant General (Retired) Nadja Y. West, the 44th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. West oversaw the highest medical readiness of our forces and the highest survival of battlefield wound rates in history. Kristen Wachter Foreman, the school’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, is the student speaker at the Sunday afternoon ceremony. We look forward to hearing all of these inspiring speakers beginning on the morning of May 15.


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