Thère du Pont, president of the Longwood Foundation, told the 74 graduating seniors at the 126th Commencement at Williamson College of the Trades, in Media, May 31, to go out into the work world, and through life, with confidence and humility.
Du Pont told the seniors to be confident in what they learned at Williamson, but at the same time, be humble and listen and learn from others.
He said, “You’ll discover shortly that while today is the end of your time on Williamson’s campus, it is but the beginning of the next phase. You are the new entrants into the companies and work teams that you will be joining soon.
“Many of you showed up on campus just three years ago not knowing how to swing a hammer or strip a wire. You walked into an environment designed to help you succeed. You found a group of people who are passionate about you. None of us succeed without great teachers.
“I have taken advantage of many of the opportunities put in front of me. I’ve worked hard. I’ve listened and learned. I’ve failed. And, I’ve gotten back up after those failures. In the process, I’ve learned that I should approach every situation and opportunity with humility. There is always someone who can do what you propose to do better than you can. The people around you are presenting you with opportunities to learn and get better.”
He closed saying, “Your Williamson education has better prepared you technically and practically than most graduates of better known schools. Take that confidence with you today. And, alongside, take a humble attitude. Have the confidence to bring your knowledge to the table and, simultaneously, have the humility to listen and learn from others.”
President Michael Rounds then presented du Pont with the traditional Commencement speaker award, a 3-D, laser-cut, metal sculpture that was manufactured by Williamson’s machine tool technology students.
In his opening remarks, Rounds said to the Class of 1W9, “You came here as strangers and are now leaving as brothers. In your time here, you were stretched and challenged. You came together and bonded. Now is the time to celebrate your hard work. Now it’s about what you do in the future. You are going to carry forward the Williamson brand.”
He also thanked the class for their gift of the landscaping along the front entrance to the school.
Commencement opened with an invocation by Bruce Everett 6W9, a member of the Class of 6W9 who were there celebrating their 50th reunion.
Senior class president Peter Gaglio said, “I believe that every person is capable of greatness. However, it must be in that person’s will to want it, strive for it, and to make it a reality. I want you to promise to always dare to achieve the impossible, always live the life of adventure never the dull life of mediocrity, create a lasting legacy known for who you are as a person. Become men of true greatness. Never allow anybody to tell you that you cannot achieve greatness. Stand tall in your convictions. Be bold as a lion because at the end of the day the hungry dogs are the ones that run fastest.”
Gaglio then passed the senior gavel to Christopher Thomas, president of the Class of 2W0, who said “It was an honor to look up to you as the senior class president and the rest of the Class of 1W9. The Class of 2W0 will flourish and thrive to become the next successful class of Williamson. We wish you luck and congratulate you on graduating from Williamson.”
Next, awards were presented by Samuel Wrightson, Ed.D., vice president of education, and William Bonenberger 7W9, board chairman, followed by the conferring of diplomas and degrees by Rounds, Bonenberger, Wrightson, du Pont, and Alumni Association President Daniel Flood 8W1.
The Artisans under the direction of Sherre Gaertner, sang the alma mater and Mark Spect 7W7, chaplain, gave the benediction, ending the ceremony.
As the 74 graduates exited the commencement tent, each rang the Commencement Bell one time, indicating they are now alumni and shook hands with the trustees and members of the Class of 6W9 who were celebrating their 50th anniversary.
Alice and Granville Bohmler 4W8 Award, best overall performance: Eric C. Thomas
Frank A. McKee Memorial Award, reflecting the values of Williamson: Alexander L. Law
Beth Nelson Memorial Award, greatest contribution to underclassmen: Justin B. Dress
Lesterle F. Smith Memorial Award, greatest improvement: Vincent D. DelPercio
Marjorie and Clarence W. Schrenk 4W9 Outstanding Achievement Award, best overall performance: Gregory J. Pratico
Isaiah V. Williamson Horticultural Award, reflecting the values of Williamson: Peter D. Kryszan
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Service Award, service to horticulture: Henry R. Cellini
Longwood Gardens Award for Excellence in Horticulture, outstanding gardener: Peter D. Kryszan
Kenneth H. Groh Memorial Award, best overall performance: Isaac D. Eshenour
John D. Beccaria Memorial Award, reflecting the values of Williamson: Shayne D. Burke
SCOTT® Shop Towels Award, most improved student: Christopher D. Smith
R. Bruce Bellerjeau 6W9 Memorial Award, greatest contribution to underclassmen: Zachery N. Reynolds
John J. Sabia Memorial Award, greatest speed and skill in bricklaying: Devin R. Fox
Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association Award, for reflecting the values of Williamson: Charles W. Cardell
Nuneviller 3W8-Fulmer Memorial Award, best overall performance: DaVon J. Lewis
Alumni Association Award, best overall performance: Tyler B. Beasley
S.S.P.C. Award, excellence in structural coatings technology: Brett P. Morgan
Charles V. Trofe 4W9 Memorial Award, reflecting the values of Williamson: Steven Izelo
Michael S. Zimmerman 9W1 Memorial Award, academic excellence: Timothy F. Smith
Rupp 1888-Zipse 1953 Award, excellence in the electrical field: Cody A. Bregande
Thomas Gustave Furman 7W9 Memorial Award, excellence in the mechanical field: Steven C. Royer
Exelon Power/Thomas M. Callahan 7W9 Memorial Award, reflecting the values of Williamson: Peter T. Gaglio
Michael Savage 1W2 Memorial Award, greatest contribution to underclassmen: Nathan J. Dumm
John G. Boyd 2W8 Memorial Award, excellence in architectural drafting: Luke T. Myers
William H. Krell Memorial Award, excellence in mechanical drafting: James T. Strickland
Robert Crawford Award, greatest improvement in trade and academic work: Liam C. Bell
Academic Honors Award, attaining a cumulative average of 3.5 or better: Cody A. Bregande, James P. Carey, John Paul T. Coleman, Vincent D. DelPercio, Nathan J. Dumm, Isaac D. Eshenour, Devin R. Fox, Peter T. Gaglio, Peter D. Kryszan, Jared G. Morefield, Luke T. Myers, Gregory J. Pratico, Ryan P. Rhoads, Steven C. Royer, Christopher D. Smith, James T. Strickland, Eric C. Thomas
Monroe L. Nute 2W3 Award, highest educational achievement: Cody A. Bregande
Work-Service Award, service above the call of duty: Peter T. Gaglio
Lynford J. Williams 0W7 Award, excellence in scholarship and athletics: Christopher D. Smith
Johnson Perseverance Award, for overcoming considerable adversity: Isaac D. Eshenour
Good Citizenship Award, no disciplinary points in three years: Paul T. Coleman, Devin R. Fox, Philip A. Hayes, Luke T. Myers, Joseph F. Pisano, James T. Strickland
Jeanette and James R. Clemens 3W4 Award, citizenship, leadership, and scholarship: Paul T. Coleman
William T. and Veronica Swinehart Award for Machine Shop: Joshua J. Baldinger 2W1
Arthur S. Yeaw Memorial Award for Music: James T. Strickland
Arthur S. Yeaw Memorial Award for English: Zachery N. Reynolds 1W9
Greatest Contribution: Nicholas Joseph Ball 1W9
Outstanding Service: Hervens Toussaint 1W9
The Joseph C. Lonabaugh Sr. Memorial Award, to the power plant technology students who demonstrated excellence in leadership as a plant operator: Cody A. Bregande