Widener Celebrates Graduates at The Mann Center and Law School Campuses
Widener University celebrated a weekend filled with commencement ceremonies, awarding nearly 1,100 diplomas to main campus students and nearly 200 degrees to law students at Delaware Law School and Commonwealth Law School.
The Honorable Patrick Murphy, an alumnus of Widener Law Commonwealth, told graduates at the main campus commencement, held at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, to use their education to serve as instruments of change in the world.
“My advice to you today is to use your diploma to change the world,” Murphy said. “…use your education, signified by your diploma, to change the world as a force for good.”
Murphy, a former U.S. Congressman, past Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, and a current member of the Widener University Board of Trustees,delivered the commencement address to approximately 690 undergraduate and 400 graduate students who received degrees Friday, May 17. He focused on three principles: find a purpose, trust the process, and give back.
“When you live a purpose-driven life, when you trust the process, when you show up and give back, even in the face of intense challenges, you too can make a difference in this world,” Murphy added.
The class also heard from graduate Iman Elkhashab who was selected as the President’s Award recipient. Elkhashab, of Broomall, Pennsylvania, earned a dual bachelor of science degree in biology and a bachelor of arts degree in French. She minored in chemistry and aspires to be a practicing physician focused on public and global health, dedicated to increasing accessibility to quality health care around the world.
Elkhashab shared her personal story of struggle and perseverance from growing up in Egypt during the time of the revolution. The tumultuous environment taught Elkhashab that each individual has the capacity to conquer and grow from challenges encountered.
When you break, you build a new you. A new you with new strengths and the new abilities. Do not let anything stand in your way when accomplishing your goals, especially not yourself. -Elkhashab
Addressing the graduates, Widener President Julie E. Wollman reflected on the achievements of the students and university in the last four years.
“You led student groups on campus and civic engagement projects as nearby as Chester, and as far away as Costa Rica and China. You used your education and leadership skills to address some of the world’s most challenging problems and to seek common ground across diverse perspectives.
“You stepped up whenever there was a need, rolled up your sleeves, or jumped into challenging conversations, and made a difference,” Wollman said.
Wollman took the opportunity to distribute one final assignment to the students: do more.
“Ask the hard questions and continue showing the same grit and determination you’ve already demonstrated. Continue to seek common ground to improve our communities, our country and the world. There’s always more to do, more to learn, more to achieve.”
Law School Commencements
Widener University’s two law schools held commencement ceremonies over the weekend.
Delaware Law School welcomed Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, the state’s first woman and first African-American representative, as its speaker. Rochester was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
The school hosted commencement Saturday, May 18 on the lawn at the Delaware campus with 118 students collecting Juris Doctor and other legal graduate degrees. The valedictorian was Gordon Prince and the outstanding faculty award – decided by a vote of the graduating class – went to Professor Alan E. Garfield. Prior to the ceremony, Law Dean Rodney A. Smolla gave the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award to Professors Erin Daly and James R. May.
Commonwealth Law School held commencement Sunday, May 19 at The Forum in the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, with 76 graduates receiving Juris Doctor degrees. Sharon López, past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, managing partner of Triquetra Law, and an alumna of the law school, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and delivered the commencement address.
Lindsay Eichinger of Harrisburg, a U.S. Navy veteran, was the Commonwealth Law School valedictorian. Law Dean Christian Johnson gave the outstanding faculty award to Professor James Diehm. Prior to the ceremony, the dean gave the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award to Commonwealth Professor of Law and Sustainability John Dernbach.