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Penn State Mont Alto to hold Spring 2010 Commencement May 15

5/10/2010 —

Penn State Mont Alto will hold its 2010 Spring Commencement this Saturday, May 15 at 10 a.m. in its Multipurpose Activities Center. The address will be given by campus Advisory Board Member Dr. Kevin H. Mosser, senior vice president of WellSpan Health. The campus has been graduating students for more than 100 years. This year, Penn State Mont Alto expects to recognize 125 students, 94 with associate degrees and 31 with baccalaureate degrees. Forty-one percent of this year’s graduates are adult learners (24 years of age or older), and their ages range from 19 to 53. In addition, 70 percent of the graduates are female while 30 percent are male. Interesting stories from the graduating class follow.

Erica Sexton is graduating with her second bachelor’s degree, this one in human development and family studies. An adult student, Sexton earned her first bachelor’s degree in theatre from Shenandoah University and travelled to perform for more than a year with the Kennedy Center. The McConnellsburg native returned home and enrolled at Penn State Mont Alto pursue a new career. She will graduate as the 2009-2010 campus academic achievement award winner. Sexton has now enrolled in a teacher intern program to become an elementary school teacher through Wilson College.

BJ Bookwalter is graduating with an associate’s degree from our Physical Therapist Assistant program; like all of the graduating students in that program, he is completing clinical work this summer and will officially graduate in August. Bookwalter is a veteran of the United State Marines. After four years of service and a two year break, he enrolled at Penn State Mont Alto to begin his education toward his ultimate goal – to work as a physical therapist at a veterans hospital where he says he would relate well to his future patients. While at Mont Alto, he was called back by the Marines for a year and was deployed to Iraq for seven months. It delayed his completion of the PTA program an extra year. Bookwalter, a Mercersburg native, enrolled at Penn State Mont Alto because “it is close to home and I’ve always been a fan of Penn State.” He was able to apply benefits from the Veteran Administration’s Montgomery G.I. Bill to attend Penn State. Penn State Mont Alto recently announced its participation in the Veterans Administration's new Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows our campus to partner with the V.A. to extend a higher benefit to veterans.

Tiffany Roddy graduated from Mont Alto with an associate’s degree in forest technology in Spring 2008, went on to University Park to complete a bachelor’s degree in Forest Science, and like many before her, has decided to return to the campus to be recognized at our commencement ceremony. She said, “I started there and really fell in love with the campus. I love how tight-knit everyone is and it is a beautiful campus. [My family and I] would rather spend my graduation day there.” Roddy was selected as the School of Forest Resources outstanding senior for 2010 at University Park. She has been president and treasurer of Xi Sigma Pi and the vice president and treasurer of Penn State Society of American Foresters student chapter. Prior to leaving for University Park, Roddy was president of the Mont Alto forestry club. She is a member of several honors societies including Xi Sigma Pi, Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Honor Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Roddy, a native of Windber, Pa., has accepted a job to be a forester with Weyerhaeuser in Oregon.

Penn State Mont Alto has approximately 1200 students. The campus offers six baccalaureate and eight associate degree programs, as well as the first two years of more than 160 Penn State degrees.

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