Pennsylvania Western University – Clarion celebrated the academic achievements of more than 600 graduates May 6 during morning and afternoon ceremonies.

Dr. Phillip Frese, dean of the College of Business, Communication and Information Sciences, and Dr. Deborah Kelly, dean of Health Sciences at PennWest, were master of ceremonies at the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies, respectively. Prior to PennWest, Frese was dean of Clarion’s College of Business Administration and Information Science, beginning in 2013. Kelly was chairperson and a faculty member in the Department of Nursing at Clarion University for 19 years. She taught in the ASN, RN-BSN, MSN and DNP programs.

Undergraduate and graduate students from the colleges of Arts & Humanities; Business, Communication & Information Science; and Social Science and Human Services participated in the 10 a.m. ceremony. The afternoon ceremony included students from the colleges of Education; Health Sciences; and Natural Science & Engineering Technology.

In addition to remarks by university, trustee and alumni representatives, graduates who have showcased a commitment to campus life and community service addressed fellow members of the Class of 2023.

Degrees were conferred by James Geiger, vice president for Advancement and Clarion campus administrator, in Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.

Sam Shannon of Vandergrift provided the student address at both Clarion ceremonies. Shannon graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Education in Secondary Mathematics Education – along with honors distinction.

Outside of academics, Shannon was an active student leader in many groups,serving on Student Senate for three years as a general senator, treasurer and president. He also served as president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and has been an active brother since spring of 2020.

Additional speakers included J.D. Dunbar ’77, ’79 (10 a.m.) and student trustee Kathryn Robinson (2 p.m.) from PennWest’s Council of Trustees and David Reed ’09, president of the Clarion Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Leading the academic processions and representing their faculty colleagues by carrying the ceremonial mace were Dr. Tony Johns, professor in the Department of Management and Marketing, and Dr. Anthony J. Vega, professor in the Department of Geosciences.