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New Kensington's 52nd commencement set for May 14

4/28/2011 —


10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 14, Athletics Center

More than a hundred graduates will receive master's, baccalaureate and associate degrees at Penn State New Kensington's 52nd commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in the campus Athletics Center.

Chancellor Kevin Snider will confer undergraduate degrees to 94 candidates, and William Bigos, assistant professor of education at Penn State Harrisburg, will confer master of education degrees to 8 candidates. David Ciesinski, group vice president and chief marketing officer for Heinz U.S. Consumer Products, a business unit of the H.J. Heinz Company, will deliver the commencement address, "The Journey Ahead." Lorri Wildi, president of the Alle-Kiski Society, will induct the new graduates into the Penn State Alumni Association.

The class of 2011 is the 52nd graduating class at the New Kensington campus. What began in 1960 with 28 men earning associate degrees has evolved into 102 men and women receiving master's, bachelor's and associate degrees. Since that inaugural class, more than 10,000 alumni have attended Penn State New Kensington and earned a Penn State degree.

The campus was born in 1958 as the New Kensington Center, which opened in the First Ward School Building in the heart of the city of New Kensington with 79 students enrolled in the electrical and mechanical engineering associate degree programs. In 1963, the center moved to the former Parnassus Junior High School and began offering the first two years of baccalaureate programs in education, liberal arts, business administration, and human development. In the same year, Alcoa offered to give the University a 35-acre tract of land in Upper Burrell Township, four miles east of the city. Three years later, the current campus was born and classes convened in the Engineering Building. Today, nearly 900 students matriculate on campus and are studying in 15 associate, bachelor's, and master’s degree programs.

As the campus and student body evolved, the mission of Penn State New Kensington also has evolved. The campus was founded as a response to a local need for higher education opportunities in the Alle-Kiski Valley, and it remains committed to fulfilling that responsibility. But the campus also plays an important role in the development of the region, and actively promotes partnerships with local and national businesses. With the establishment of programs such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and WEDIG (Westmoreland Economic and Development Initiative for Growth), the campus seeks to bridge the gap between education and industry.

Penn State New Kensington continues to evolve as it enters its sixth decade of service to the citizens of the Alle-Kiski Valley. It is relentless in expanding course offerings to meet industry’s changing needs. This greatly enhances Penn State’s historic mission of teaching, research and service.

For more on the commencment speaker, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Information/News/43764.htm#NEWS43764


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