The Pitt Class of 2017 graduates Sunday amidst a cascade of confetti at the Petersen Events Center.
Featured Speaker S. Epatha Merkerson
Actor, producer and director S. Epatha Merkerson, the featured speaker at Sunday's Undergraduate Ceremony, addresses the Class of 2017 as Chancellor Patrick Gallagher looks on. She told a story about her mother skydiving in her 80s and encouraged students to "jump out of the plane" and to get out of their comfort zones.
Ifeoluwadolapo Ojewuyi (center) of Illinois poses with her family after the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Ojewuyi received a Bachelor of Science from the College of General Studies. A pre-med student, she will conduct research during a gap year before medical school. Ojewuyi is waiting to be placed for a research assignment by the National Institutes of Health.
Like mother, like daughter: Julia Helgert and her daughter Eva celebrate after Helgert graduated from the College of General Studies with a degree in media and professional communications. She is a marketing assistant at Apogee IT Services in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
Yue Yuan, who graduated Sunday with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, gets some help preparing for the ceremony from her mom, Juan Liu, outside the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt graduate Katherine Coronado, 22, is bound for Seattle where she begins her job at Google on July 17. Traveling from Harrisburg to see the computer engineer graduate were (from left) her sister, Christina; brother Phil; father Edward and mother Doris.
Shynna Pennington gets a hug from her daughter, Kari Sanders, 7, outside the Petersen Events Center before commencement begins. Pennington earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. A bright future lies ahead, but for today, hat’s off to a “Journey Complete.”
Shawn Dalton, Allison Walsh, and Stephen Kennedy
Shawn Dalton, Allison Walsh and Stephen Kennedy received bachelor’s degrees in political science. Dalton, of Georgia, plans to attend graduate school at Pitt; Walsh, of Connecticut, is interning this summer with Sen. Bob Casey’s re-election campaign; Kennedy, who plans to attend law school, is interning this summer at a law firm and preparing for his LSAT test.
Proud grandmother Munaii Franjione helps Kylie Rush with her gown. Rush, a Pitt cheerleader, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing today. She is off to California with plans to become an ICU nurse.
Daryl Anderson hugs his cousin Joslyn Wilburn after she received a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Wilburn is waiting to hear from the three law schools that she applied to. She said that her favorite aspect of her Pitt experience was her friends and her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Myla Ona, 21, (fourth from left) graduated today with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Joining her (from left) were her grandmother Isidra Garcia; her sister Michellin Ona; her friend Emily Lam, who graduated with a nursing degree; and her parents, Leila Garcia-Ona and Michael Ona.
We Did It!
Friends from the School of Information Sciences and Swanson School of Engineering celebrate at the Class of 2017 Graduate Ceremony reception outside the John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center.
John Schneider waits for his son Aiden to run into his arms as his daughter Ella stands nearby at the reception. Schneider graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. A Pittsburgh native, he served in the Marine Corps for 18 years.
Anoop Kulkarni, Adeline Giritharan, and Abhinav Tiwari
From left: Anoop Kulkarni (master’s in telecommunications), Adeline Giritharan (master’s in information science and technology) and Abhinav Tiwari (master’s in telecommunications) await receiving their degrees from the School of Information Sciences.
Benjamin Wells moves in on Chancellor Patrick D. Gallagher for his traditional "I'm graduating!" hug. The Plymouth, Masschusetts, native, who earned his master's in applied statistics, explains, "I've done this every time [I've graduated]. I usually pick them up, too, but this time my parents came in from Texas and my girlfriend is in the crowd. I think it would have been a bit too much this time."
Featured Speaker Larry J. Merlo
Featured speaker Larry J. Merlo was awarded an honorary doctorate at the graduate ceremony. Merlo is president and chief executive officer of CVS Health. During his speech, Merlo urged students to find purpose in their chosen fields.
Loulwah Alothman captures a memory during Saturday's Graduate Ceremony. Her husband, Omar Almazroo, earned his Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Pharmacy.
Emmanuel Stocker played for Pitt’s football team the past two seasons while earning his graduate degree. With his newly minted master’s in health and physical activity, he plans to enter the medical sales field. Stocker poses with (from left) his father Emmanuel, mother Leonette, family friend Sharon, and grandfather Stanley.
Sushma Sattuluri is surrounded by her family outside the Petersen Events Center at Pitt’s graduate commencement ceremony. Sattuluri received her master’s in information science and technology from the School of Information Sciences on Saturday. She previously taught at an electrical engineering school. After graduation, Sattuluri hopes to work in Pittsburgh. She’s considering working toward a PhD in big data analytics.
Paul Whitehead and Erin Pletcher
Paul Whitehead and Erin Pletcher both graduated with PhDs in rehabilitation science. Whitehead will soon be a professor at the University of Alabama and Pletcher will be joining the faculty at Rowan University in New Jersey. The two graduates are joined by Erin’s father James, sister Jamie, and mother Barbara.
Ashley Byrne takes a selfie with her father Steve, mother Pat and grandmother Rita Skubish at the reception. Byrne received a master’s degree in speech language pathology from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She will complete her clinical fellowship year at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
Destine Gibbs has seen success on the court as a member of Pitt's basketball team. On Saturday, she claimed another victory at The Pete: her master's degree in health and fitness from the School of Education. "It was a great experience," she says of her time at Pitt. "And it was filled with a lot of challenges. But now I'm here under the lights and it's where I want to be."
Proud parents Christine Verschuur and German Velasquez flew from France to see their son, Nicolas Velasquez, graduate with his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Velasquez has a position in a research lab in the Department of Bioengineering.