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Concert Pianist Inspires Class of 2018
Susquehanna University
Susquehanna University

May 16, 2018

Degrees Conferred Upon 473 Graduates

Concert pianist Awadagin Pratt urged Susquehanna University's Class of 2018 to consider their degrees with the same flexibility they might give the first draft of their memoir.

Pratt, professor of piano at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, delivered the keynote address at Susquehanna's 160th Commencement on Wednesday in the Garrett Sports Complex Field House.

"What you graduates are about to be presented with here will be a 'working title,'" he said. "I would like for each one of you, once you leave here, to look at your degree for a minute, reflect on your accomplishment and file the words that constitute that 'working title' away."

Pratt encouraged the graduates to pursue their passion, regardless of their degree.

"Somehow many people manage in their lives daily without being able to do that thing that they love. They put it away in their overstuffed drawer of dreams," Pratt said. "Honoring that thing, however, will give you a pathway to achieve what you may have thought was impossible."

He also urged them to be the innovators within their chosen careers, and to pursue their dreams with courage and intensity.

"Be completely invested and intense in the pursuit of the realization of your dreams," he said. "When you become successful, have the courage to thank everyone who helped you, and have the courage to help those ... less advantaged than you."

Pratt received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Susquehanna President Jonathan D. Green. Sunbury attorney John A. Carpenter, an emeritus member of Susquehanna's Board of Trustees, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at a separate occasion next week.

Green, in his first commencement as president of Susquehanna, conferred degrees upon 473 graduates in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business.

"One of the great rewards of university life is that we enjoy a state of perpetual renewal," Green said during his address to the Class of 2018. "Each year we are renewed as we send forth a class of students we have come to know and love, whom we have provoked and nurtured, and from whom we too have learned much."

Faculty Earn Awards

The John C. Horn Distinguished Service Lectureship was awarded to Nicholas Clark, assistant professor of political science, in recognition for his leadership, his skill as a teacher, his rich record of institutional service and his impressive professional resume as both a practitioner and a scholar. Clark joined the faculty in 2013.  Since that time he has built up an impressive record of scholarship focused primarily on the European Union. 

The Susquehanna University Donald D. Housley Teaching Award was awarded to Marcos Krieger, associate professor of music. A superior teacher, performer, scholar and university citizen, he has established himself among students and colleagues as a figure of authority and a meticulous and conscientious leader, possessed of great clarity and integrity. Krieger is the chair of the curriculum committee and director of the Honors Program.

The Lawrence A. Lemons Distinguished Academic Advising Award was awarded to Jan Reichard-Brown, associate professor of biology. While a dedicated advisor to biology students, Reichard-Brown was recognized for her work as pre-health advisor, working with all students who are interested in health-related careers, including medical school. This complex and important job includes ensuring that students fulfill entrance requirements and prepare for entrance exams, supporting them through the application process, celebrating with them when they are successful, and continuing to help them well beyond graduation.  

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