May 18, 2024

President Jonathan Green stands at a podium dressed in his academic regalia. Susquehanna University President Jonathan Green addresses the Class of 2024.Susquehanna University celebrated the Class of 2024 by awarding degrees to nearly 500 graduates. For most of these graduates, it was their first Commencement ceremony — as their high school graduations were canceled in the early months of the Covid pandemic.

“In the fall of 2020, moving into a campus took a leap of faith,” University President Jonathan Green said. “You came here to seek the truth, to develop the skills to discern true from false, right from wrong, good from bad.”

As the pandemic unfolded, so too did crises both domestic and abroad — from the Jan. 6 insurrection to the current wars in Russian and Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza — presenting students with “vexing conundrums … made all the more difficult by the noise of seemingly ceaseless, fractious, and conflicting narratives.

“This is why you took that leap of faith in the fall of 2020,” Green said. “You proved that we learn best in community; that by engaging with each other to tackle life’s most challenging questions, we can find common ground; and that allowing ourselves to be intellectually vulnerable opens us up to new levels of wisdom.”

An unconventional welcome

The Class of 2024 was welcomed into the university with a virtual Opening Convocation ceremony due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. At the time, many of the incoming class had not yet been to campus due to the hiatus of in-person campus tours. The university implemented a staged return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, with first-year students arriving on campus first, although some students chose to study remotely for the first half or the entirety of the 2020–21 academic year.

Kendra Kent '24 stands behind a podium at Commencement. Student Government Association President Kendra Kent ’24 addresses her fellow graduates.Student Government Association President Kendra Kent ’24, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, urged her fellow graduates to venture forth into their respective futures with the confidence they gained over their last four years despite their unorthodox introduction to college.

“Right now, it might feel like we’re going off into the world blindly, but we’re not. We know this world because it has shaped us into the people we are right now — strong, resilient, capable,” Kent said. “After today, some of us will head off to graduate school, some will take gap years, some will enter the workforce. We’ll take what Susquehanna has given us and we’ll show the world what a River Hawk is made of.”

Green conferred degrees upon 490 graduates in the School of the Arts, School of Humanities, School of Natural and Social Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business.

Among the Class of 2024, 26 have earned two bachelor’s degrees. One hundred twelve graduated summa cum laude — the Latin honor of highest distinction requiring a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or above. They have also made their mark around the world. Through Susquehanna’s Global Opportunities study-abroad program, they have traveled to more than 30 countries outside of the United States, from Argentina, Italy, Japan and Morocco, to Czech Republic, China, Ghana, Peru and many more. The majority of the graduates hail from Pennsylvania, with New Jersey, Maryland and New York accounting for many of the rest. Others came to Susquehanna from Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and more, while still more joined the Class of 2024 from Bangladesh, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates. They join an alumni community of nearly 22,000 worldwide. After graduation they will scatter south to Texas, west to Oregon and north to Alaska, while others will set off to locations abroad in England, North Macedonia, Poland and South Africa.

‘Our best hope for a better future’

William Jay Bosanko '92 stands at the podium after receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. William “Jay” Bosanko ’92 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.The ceremony’s keynote speaker, William “Jay” Bosanko ’92, currently serves as deputy archivist at the U.S. National Archives and is the agency’s most senior career employee.

During the commencement ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be bestowed upon Bosanko. In 2021, the university’s alumni association presented him with its annual Alumni of Distinction Achievement Award.

Bosanko related to Susquehanna’s graduating class the lessons he has learned over his 30-plus years with the federal government.

“As you look to your future, be a steward, reflect on your past, give your best advice, take risks, and remember that your words matter,” Bosanko said. “You, the members of the Class of 2024, are well positioned to not simply make your way in this world, but to make the world better through your leadership, service and achievements.”

Green urged Susquehanna’s 166th graduating class to seek truth in “time is sometimes jeeringly referred to as the ‘post-truth’ era.

“Over the past four years, we have seen you grow. You have sent down deep roots and reached around the globe. You have plumbed core beliefs and opened yourselves up to rich and conflicting perspectives. You have taken chances, and you have exercised bold compassion,” Green said. “Take these talents and be that gift to the world we have witnessed you become in this special place. You are our best hope for a better future.”