Arcadia University Commencement, May 17 and 18

Posthumous Master’s Award to WW II GI Bride
Civic Award to Senior with 2,000 Hours of Community Service
Speakers from Italy, PBS News Hour, Black Feminist Theory, PCCY
Great Teachers Award—Girls High

GLENSIDE, Pa., May 16, 2012─Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III presides as Arcadia awards four honorary doctoral degrees at its two Commencement exercises on May 17 and 18.

The honorary degree recipients echo Arcadia’s commitment to preparing the leaders of tomorrow through immersion with cultures, places, people, and languages around the world—and to meeting the challenges and solving the problems of that changing world through campus internationalization.

Graduate Commencement, 5 p.m., Thursday, May 17

  • Speaker and Honorary Degree—Dr. Patricia Hill Collins, a social theorist whose research and scholarship examine issues of race, gender, social class, sexuality and nation, will receive an Honorary Doctorate degree and give the Graduate Commencement Address. Collins is a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland.
  • Honorary Degree—Professor Guido Fabiani, Rettore of Roma Tre University, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Graduate Commencement ceremony. He has been Rettore, or Chancellor, of Roma Tre University, one of Italy’s most respected universities, since 1998, leading it through a period of unprecedented growth.
  • Posthumous Degree—Joan Berschler, who passed away this semester at the age of 87, just 3 credits short of completing a M.A. in Humanities. She was enrolled in college when her husband went off to World War II. As a GI bride, she gave up school and followed him to several Army bases. Then came children, a family business, and many commitments. But her hunger for learning never died. At age 78, she enrolled in Penn State, Abington Campus, and earned a bachelor’s degree. That didn’t stop her. She then enrolled in Arcadia’s master’s program. She spent the last two years of her life pursuing this goal while battling breast cancer.

Undergraduate Commencement, 10:15 a.m., Friday, May 18

  • Speaker and Honorary Doctorate--Fred de Sam Lazaro, a PBS NewHour Correspondent who has traveled to 51 countries in search of the under-told story, will receive an Honorary Doctorate and give the Undergraduate Commencement Address. De Sam Lazaro is director of the Under-Told Stories Project at St. Mary's University in Minnesota, a program that combines international journalism and teaching.
  • Honorary Doctorate—Shelly Yanoff ’62, one of the region’s most effective advocates for children, will receive an Honorary Doctorate at the Undergraduate Commencement. Her work at PCCY has been instrumental in increasing funding and improving programming in child health, child welfare, public education, child care, youth development and family well-being.
  • President’s Civic Engagement Award—Christine Friis ’12, logged more than 2,000 hours of community service—from local schoolchildren to military serving overseas. Her award of $1,000 will go two service organizations—Interfaith Hospitality Network, which addresses family homelessness in Philadelphia, and Operation Homefront, which helps the families of troops serving overseas.
  • Great Teacher Award—Joseph Marchetti, of Philadelphia High School for Girls, will receive the first Reflections of Excellence Great Teacher Award. He was nominated by Daymeia Wimberly, a student at Arcadia.

Media Contact: Lori Bauer, Arcadia University, 215-847-1819 (cell),

About Arcadia University: Arcadia University ( is a top-ranked private university in metropolitan Philadelphia and a national leader in study abroad and international education. The 2011 Open Doors report ranks Arcadia University a top leader in the nation in undergraduate study abroad. U.S. News & World Report ranks Arcadia University among the top regional universities in the North and as one of the top study abroad programs. U.S. News also ranks Arcadia’s Physical Therapy program in the top 15 in the nation. Arcadia University promises a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares students to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world.