Great Valley celebrates graduates at commencement ceremony

A group of graduates standing

Penn State Great Valley held its annual commencement ceremony on May 6.

Credit: Cai Pyle

MALVERN, Pa. — The Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies celebrated more than 1,000 graduates during a commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6. In addition to hosting graduates from the 2021-22 academic year, alumni who earned their master’s degrees in summer 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020 were invited to return to campus to celebrate after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented an earlier in-person celebration.

Col. Jeffrey Lipson, an alumnus of Great Valley's information science program and CEO and co-founder of Malvern-based Layer 8 Security, delivered the keynote address, reflecting on the importance of lifelong learning and growth.

“Life is a journey, and you should be dedicated to lifelong learning,” Lipson said. “I challenge you to be entrepreneurs. This doesn’t mean you have to start your own business, though I would encourage you to do so. Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind. What can you do in your job to improve the process? To drive efficiency? What can you do to be a disrupter?”

Caitlyn Baker, a middle school math teacher who completed her leadership development degree this past semester, spoke on the behalf of her fellow graduate students.

“We are in the midst of a labor shift that is demanding immediate changes from leaders, and our work here at Penn State has prepared each of us to be compassionate and transformative leaders and stakeholders during this time,” Baker said. “As leaders, I encourage you to have a growth mindset even when your mistakes seem devastating, mandate and model respect for all people, and make time for gratitude.”

Nine students were recognized with outstanding achievement awards in their respective programs: Miguel Garcia in data analytics, Jiajuan Lin in software engineering, Malaika Valeriote in systems engineering, Stephen Piaskowski in engineering management, Gwangui Hong in information science, Geneen Grady in business administration, Ivan Rummel in finance, Adam Morrison in leadership development, and Kaitlyn Lunsford in accounting.

The School of Graduate Professional Studies graduated the following by semester within an academic year:

  • Summer 2019: 97
  • Fall 2019: 225
  • Spring 2020: 184
  • Summer 2021: 143
  • Fall 2021: 199
  • Spring 2022: 155