December 09, 2021

Five commencement ceremonies, national college rankings, River Hawks records and more. It’s been another successful year at Susquehanna University. Here are some of our favorite stories from 2021.

One Year, Two Classes and Five Commencements

Susquehanna welcomed more than 800 graduates and their families and supporters over five commencement ceremonies during the month of May – ceremonies for both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020, who had waited faithfully for 442 days to return to SU to receive their degrees in person.

These ceremonies were the perfect symbol of all Susquehanna achieved, with the support of students, faculty and staff, during the 2020-21 academic year. Read more about how we got there here.

A Return to Traditions

Credit: Joseph Dudeck ’23 After Covid necessitated virtual or modified traditions in 2020, 2021 ushered in a return to the traditions that make Susquehanna so special.

Hundreds of family members visited during Family Weekend. More than 1,200 alumni and friends were welcomed to campus for Homecoming–Reunion Weekend.

Faculty and staff served Thanksgiving Dinner to grateful students and our lights shone brightly once again at Christmas Candlelight Service.

National Rankings

Susquehanna was again named in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 National Liberal Arts Colleges list, ranking No. 117.

We rose in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2022 ranking of the nation’s top colleges and universities, up to No. 207, an improvement of eight places over last year.

Of the nation’s nearly 3,000 four-year colleges, Susquehanna was one of only 14% profiled by The Princeton Review, which recognized SU as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduates.

Forbes business magazine named Susquehanna one of the top universities in Pennsylvania in its latest college ranking, ranking Susquehanna No. 13 among small, private colleges in Pennsylvania.

Around Campus

In 2021, Susquehanna expanded its geographic footprint and provided upgrades to other spaces on campus.

We dedicated the Rev. Dr. Lois D. Martin ’90 and Dr. Thomas J. Martin, MD Retreat Center, a rural property in nearby Danville that will be used as a retreat, study and gathering space for many of the university’s academic and extracurricular programs.

Isaac’s Auditorium underwent renovations that preserved the auditorium’s architectural integrity and include upgraded lighting and sound technology and a renovated stage, new flooring and new seating.

The graphic design studio also got a facelift, while the university introduced space in the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center: the Hawk Hub, a “one-stop shop” where students can turn for information they need to succeed at Susquehanna.

Also new to campus is a grove of pawpaw trees at the Center for Environmental Education and Research.


From left are Adriana Oelberg '23, Luke Duceman '18, Kailah Johnson '23 and Hannah Kelly-Quigley ... From left are Adriana Oelberg ’23, Luke Duceman ’18, Kailah Johnson ’23 and Hannah Kelly-Quigley ’20.Faculty research revealed some interesting work in 2021 while students earned accolades of their own.

Research from Matthew Rousu, dean of Susquehanna’s Sigmund Weis School of Business, and Nick Clark, associate professor and chair of political science, suggests that paying people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may be the easiest and fastest way for the United States to achieve herd immunity.

David Imhoof, professor of history, published So, About Modern Europe … a textbook that uses a light-hearted yet engaging style – and some salty language – to guide readers through the good, the bad and the indifferent of modern European history.

Samya Zain, professor of physics, published her second physics textbook Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: An introduction for Physicists and Engineers.

Our students also made their mark, landing prestigious fellowships around the world.

Thirteen students earned the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State grant program that enables U.S. students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. Read more about them here and here.

Adriana Oelberg ’23 was awarded the prestigious Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship by the U.S. Department of State – one of only several awarded in the United States.

Luke Duceman ’18 received his second Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Costa Rica after his first was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kailah Johnson ’23 was selected to participate in the Fulbright Summer Institute, one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide.

Hannah Kelly-Quigley ’20 was awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Chinese during the summer of 2021.

Advancement and Alumni Relations

2021 was a busy year for Susquehanna’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations.

Susquehanna publicly launched its capital campaign Give Rise during Homecoming-Reunion Weekend with the announcement that more than $140 million has already been committed toward its $160 million goal – the most ambitious fundraising effort in the university’s history. The campaign, which will support student scholarships, capital improvements and Susquehanna’s endowment, has raised nearly 88% of its goal despite challenges presented by the Covid pandemic that delayed the campaign’s public announcement. 

Our alumni are thoughtful leaders, critical thinkers and global citizens, and their expertise spans countless industries. In 2021, they volunteered their time in a series of webinars exploring topics such as immuno-oncology, learning styles the US-Afghanistan relationship, ancestry research, food and wine pairings, seasonal recipes and more.