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Penn State Reveals 2017 Commencement Speakers

A new class of Penn Staters will enter the alumni family next weekend after graduating from their respective college(s), though not everyone will choose to walk at graduation. Penn State announced yesterday the list of commencement speakers for each academic college’s ceremony as well as the dates, times, and locations spanning the weekend.

The list of commencement speakers, though surely all decorated in their given field, again lacks the caliber one would expect from a university of Penn State’s size and prestige. Outside of the College of Communications and the College of IST, the list is lacking heavy-hitters like first ladies and recognized TV hosts. Even Penn State Harrisburg got James Franklin to deliver its commencement speech this year.

Regardless, here is the list of commencement speakers for each college as well as the date, time, and location of each ceremony:

Agricultural Sciences

  • Sunday, May 7 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Chris R. Hoffman, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

Arts and Architecture

  • Saturday, May 6 at 12 p.m.
  • Location: Eisenhower Auditorium
  • Speaker: Helen Maser, graduating student in the College of Arts and Architecture
    • Maser is graduating with degrees in drawing and painting, sculpture, and a minor in art history

Smeal College of Business

  • Sunday, May 7 at 9 a.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Farnoosh Torabi

Bellisario College of Communications

Earth and Mineral Sciences

  • Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m.
  • Location: Pegula Ice Arena
  • Speaker: Alton D. Romig Jr., Executive Officer of the National Academy of Engineering

College of Education

  • Sunday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO of the National School Boards Association

College of Engineering

  • Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Patricia Stevens, Chief Technologist for Boeing Phantom Works Rotary Wing Programs

College of Health and Human Development

  • Saturday, May 6 at 3 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Kevin Lynch, founder of The Quell Foundation

College of Information Sciences and Technology

  • Saturday, May 6 at 3 p.m.
  • Location: Eisenhower Auditorium
  • Speaker: Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit

College of the Liberal Arts

  • Saturday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Elizabeth Catchmark, student marshal, College of the Liberal Arts

College of Nursing

  • Saturday, May 6 at 6 p.m.
  • Location: Eisenhower Auditorium
  • Speaker: Janice Penrod, professor in the Penn State College of Nursing

Eberly College of Science

  • Saturday, May 6 at 9 a.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Nina G. Jablonski, Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology at Penn State

Schreyer Honors College Medal Ceremony

  • Friday, May 5 at 5 p.m. in Eisenhower Auditorium

Graduate School

  • Sunday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bryce Jordan Center
  • Speaker: Andrew Read, Evan Pugh Professor in Biology and Entomology, Eberly Professor in Biotechnology, and director of Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.


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