Commencement Weekend celebrates nearly 1,000 Explorers

May 15, 2023

The Class of 2023 celebrated their achievements at two ceremonies held on campus. 

A rainy forecast didn’t dampen the mood of La Salle University graduates this past weekend.  

Nearly 1,000 degrees were conferred at McCarthy Stadium and Tom Gola Arena at TruMark Financial Center on Saturday, May 13. The undergraduate ceremony, held at 10 a.m., and the graduate ceremony, held at 4 p.m., included families and friends filing into seats to watch the Class of 2023 move their tassels to the left.  

University President Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D., greeted the undergraduates with a message of motivation reminding the students that they’ve already overcome many challenges—including the COVID-19 pandemic—and that their time at 20th and Olney set them up for success.  

La Salle University President Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D. addresses the crowd during the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

“Your La Salle degree has prepared you for whatever comes next,” Dr. Allen said. “Your coursework has cultivated your career-aligned skills and knowledge of your chosen field while anchoring your education in the liberal arts. This unique blend will ensure that the value of your La Salle education continues to pay dividends for years to come.”  

Student Commencement speaker Leah Brown, ’23, spoke to her fellow undergraduates of her family connection to La Salle and encouraged her fellow graduates to always believe in themselves. 

Leah Brown, ’23, shares words of encouragement with her fellow graduates.

“Classmates, when you enter the world, continue to remind yourself about how powerful the education is that you received at La Salle. Believe in how much you can accomplish, and if you are ever in doubt, bet on yourself. Use the tools in your toolbox and apply them to every situation you face,” she said.   

Undergraduates and their families also heard from honorary degree recipient Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., a champion of Philadelphia’s homeless and mentally ill communities, and co-founder of Project HOME. The University conferred a doctor of humanitarian services degree to Scullion who then addressed the graduates.  

Scullion shared a powerful sentiment with the graduates, encouraging them to go out into the world and continue “to foster a society of justice and inclusion.”  

Honorary degree recipient Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., shares a powerful sentiment during the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

“You join the thousands of people who have gone forth from this storied University, carrying these values, translating them into lives of service to others and a commitment to the common good,” she said.  

The ceremony also honored Nursing Associate Professor Mindy Tait, Ph.D., MBA, CRNP, FNP-BC, with the 2023 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award.   

The graduate ceremony was held in TruMark Financial Center due to weather conditions. However, it didn’t stifle the celebration of graduates and their loved ones as cheers and claps filled Tom Gola Arena.  

Attendees heard words from one of the first graduates of La Salle’s Master of Social Work program, Katherine Young, ’19, MSW ’23, who shared her story of personal adversity and how she’s overcome many of life’s challenges. Young currently works as a Mobile Supervisor for Merakey, partnering with first responders and other community workers in Philadelphia to assist those who are unhoused and struggling with a substance use disorder.    

Young shared a message with the graduate students asking them to think about the moment they thought something was impossible. And, how so quickly, the impossible becomes possible.  

“I know that your impossible was not impossible. I know this because you are all sitting here today. You survived what you thought you’d never survive. You’re here and I see you,” she said. 

—Meg Ryan