La Salle University announces the lineup of speakers for Commencement 2017. Graduating senior Jack DiMatteo has been selected to deliver the Undergraduate Commencement address on Sunday, May 21. Alum Mike Sielski, a sports columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer since September 2013, has been selected as the honorary degree recipient. Alumna Hannah Datz, VP Retail North America at SAP Hybris, will give the address at La Salle’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 19.
Jack DiMatteo is a student in La Salle’s Honors Program double majoring in political science and economics. Over the last four years, he has worked as the head student manager for the men’s basketball team, has Letters to the Editor published in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and helped raise more than $19,000 through the African Mission Healthcare Foundation for Dr. Tom Catena, an American physician working in the Sudan at the Gidel Mother of Mercy Hospital. Following graduation, DiMatteo continues his education at the University of Virginia to earn a Masters of Public Policy.
“Since I arrived at La Salle as a freshman, I’ve always admired the unique tradition of having a student deliver the commencement address, and now as a senior, I feel deeply humbled to be a part of that history,” said DiMatteo. “The framework for my speech comes from the Latin translation for Brothers of the Christian Schools, Fratres Scholarum Christianarum, or F.S.C. While that acronym does not technically mean Faith, Service, Community, it has come to stand for those things. I will use that to discuss what those values mean in the context of our graduating class, and how it ties to our motto of Explorers are Never Lost. I believe that as La Salle University graduates, because of our commitment to Faith, Service, and Community, we are never lost.”
Mike Sielski graduated from La Salle in 1997 with degrees in English and communication. A student in La Salle’s Honors Program, Sielski was also sports editor and later editor-in-chief of The Collegian, the University’s student newspaper. He was also selected to give the Commencement Address at his graduation exercises.
“My four years at La Salle were wonderful, among the best of my life, and this is an incredible honor, truly overwhelming and humbling,” said Sielski. “I have to assume that the committee members who selected this year’s speaker had run out of ideas, happened to have a copy of that day’s Inquirer sports section spread out on a table in front of them, and said, ‘Hey, this guy who wrote this thing about the Eagles today went to La Salle. Let’s pick him.’”
Hannah Datz graduated from La Salle University’s Business Scholars Co-op Program in 2010 and served as Commencement speaker for her class. In her address, she explored the meaning of what it means to be Lasallian and what distinguishes La Salle alums from other college graduates. During her time as an undergraduate, she was a student leader and tour guide. Datz currently serves as a member of the La Salle University Board of Trustees.
“In my speech to the 2017 graduates, I’ll explore what it means to be Lasallian in a professional sense, and how the virtues and values of a Christian Brothers education have impacted my personal and professional life,” said Datz. “When I spoke to my peers seven years ago at my Undergraduate Commencement, I was projecting the life that this strong foundation would help me obtain. In reality, the effects of a Lasallian education helped me more than I could have imagined, both professionally, in a fast-paced global career track with SAP, and personally.”