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Point Park University conferred 41 doctoral degrees, 118 master’s degrees and 60 Education certificates Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Fall Hooding Ceremony, held in the University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. Stanley Denton, Ph.D., professor of education, served as Grand Marshal.

Jason Lange, M.A., M.Ed., founder and president of BloomBoard, an education talent development provider, was the keynote speaker. Point Park recently entered a partnership with BloomBoard to solve the teacher-shortage crisis by providing a pathway for paraprofessionals and support staff to receive their teaching certification. The program uses on-the-job experience to meet the requirements of classes taught by Point Park faculty members.

Shari Payne, Ph.D., acting dean of the school of education, praised Lange for his innovation. “I’m extremely impressed by how entrepreneurial Jason has been about solving a real societal problem,” she said.

Lange encouraged each of the graduates to take a similar approach, actively exploring the possibilities that emerge when connections are made between seemingly dissimilar fields.

“You have a level of depth to be truly dangerous in each of your fields," he said. "The idea that you can take that depth and apply it across fields and start to really think about how you can change the fields you’re excited about, using the depth of expertise you have — that’s where can solve society’s biggest problems.”

Bridget Miller, Ed.D., who received her Doctorate in Leadership and Administration, addressed her fellow graduates as the student speaker. Miller, an assistant principal in the Seneca Valley School District, exhorted graduates to bring dignity to all their interactions.

“We need to validate one another, respond to each other’s concerns, look one another in the eye and say ‘I. see. You. I acknowledge you, and while you may think differently, vote differently, believe differently than I do, I see you and even more importantly, I accept you,’” she said.

Dr. Chris W. Brussalis, president, and Michael Soto, Ph.D., provost, also offered inspiring messages that expressed the pride they feel for Point Park's latest graduates.  

Candidates in the Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy in Community Engagement and Doctor of Education in Leadership and Administration programs were awarded their hoods on stage by their dissertation chair or other faculty member.

Master’s candidates in the Rowland School of Business and Schools of Arts & Sciences, Communication and Education were greeted by the respective dean of each school.

The ceremony marked the first time the University has included the students who have successfully completed the Principal Certificate and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility Certificate programs. According to Darlene Marnich, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Leadership and Organizational Administration in the School of Education, Point Park certifies more principals than any other institution in Pennsylvania.

“These are the programs that produce the future leaders of schools and school districts,” said Richard Gutkind, Ph.D., director of Online Graduate Programs in the School of Education. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Point Park is now recognizing these important graduates from the School of Education along with peers from other educational programs.”

Veronika Panagiatou, Ph.D., an alumna of Point Park's community engagement and psychology programs and part-time faculty member, welcomed the graduates into the Alumni Association, which boasts nearly 30,000 members across the globe.

In case you missed it, watch the ceremony in the video below. 



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