One word describes Wilmington University’s Class of 2022: unstoppable! Unrelenting amid a global pandemic, family obligations, numerous challenges, and uncertainties.
On May 22 and 23, 2022, Wilmington University awarded over 2,400 academic degrees during its 51st Commencement ceremonies at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Commencement is always meaningful to us,” says Wilmington University President Dr. LaVerne Harmon. “Seeing our graduates come together, knowing that they reached their goals despite the pandemic, made it truly special. During their time with us, many were working, raising children, supporting their communities, and finding ways to juggle their obligations and schoolwork. We are so proud of our graduates and wish them the best in their next chapters.”
The class of 2022 included graduates who hailed from over 80 countries, representing Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. They ranged from 18 to 73, and more than 2,700 completed their degrees entirely online. They proudly join the WilmU Alumni Association, now celebrating over 65,000 members — and counting.
The themes of determination and persistence were evident in commencement addresses given by actual graduates. They shared their WilmU experiences, reflecting on the support and guidance they received from caring faculty and staff.
Dr. Lakeisha M. Mathews, who graduated with a Doctorate in Education in Higher Education Leadership and Innovation, represented WilmU’s May 2022 College of Education class. The director of the Career and Internship Center at the University of Baltimore and the owner of Right Resumes & Career Coaching, Dr. Mathews serves on several nonprofit boards in Baltimore and is a passionate community volunteer.
Dr. Mathews reflected on the challenging journeys that she and her fellow graduates endured throughout the pandemic. “We successfully passed our classes,” she said. “We read a plethora of books and journal articles. We diligently listened to lectures, podcasts, and TED Talks, and as a result, we have proven ourselves intellectually and worthy of the credentials being bestowed on us today … However, our feats do not stop there. We have not only proven ourselves to be scholars, but we have also proven ourselves to be survivors who completed our educations during a global pandemic.”
Jackson Brandwene celebrated his Bachelor of Science degree in Law, Policy, and Political Science and represented the January 2022 College of Social and Behavioral Sciences class. A student-athlete for the Wildcats’ soccer team, Brandwene completed his degree in just over two years instead of four. He earned a 3.98 GPA, the highest cumulative GPA of any men’s soccer player.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native emphasized the importance of questioning the status quo and asking the right questions. “The world will not wait for us to feel prepared or to come across critical answers,” he said. “It is our duty to find the right answers, but first, we must find the right questions. Thanks to Wilmington University’s incredible faculty and staff, and the support of those around us, we are far better prepared to ask the right questions and craft a better future for generations to come.”
Commencement speakers also included:
- Victoria Grubowski Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (College of Health Professions)
- Jessica Purdy Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies (College of Arts and Sciences)
- Dr. Angelica Carter Doctor of Business Administration (College of Business)
- Dr. Michele L. Warch Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation (College of Education)
- Dr. Robert A. Gregor Jr. Doctor of Nursing Practice (College of Health Professions)
- Robert (Bob) Francis McManus Master of Science in Cybersecurity (College of Technology)
- Elena Mingioni dual Master of Science in Nursing/MBA (College of Business)
Maintaining their studies during a world crisis, the Class of 2022 certainly faced difficulties. But they persevered, chased their dreams, defeated the odds, and, indeed, became unstoppable.
“While our paths to this point have all been different, we share one common success: we all made it here today,” said another student speaker, Jessica Purdy, a WilmU student-athlete from England. “I know we faced challenges we thought we could not overcome, but we did,” she said. “Personally, being an international student-athlete started as a daunting prospect, but I’m delighted I trusted WilmU with this. Because of the challenges we have faced throughout our academic journeys, we have learned to focus on the positive aspects and view the negative simply as trials. We are resilient, hardworking, and determined to keep striving for the best. That is how I want the Class of 2022 to be remembered.”
Wilmington University extends warm wishes and congratulations to the Class of 2022.