Graduating Students Honored in On-Campus Ceremonies

Graduates were celebrated throughout April and May prior to our Commencement ceremonies.

Galloway, N.J. – Celebrating the achievements of our departing Ospreys doesn’t start or end with our big Commencement ceremonies in May.

Throughout the months of April and May, graduating students were honored for their academic and professional achievements within their academic programs and student organizations, as well as inducted into honor societies.

Below is a collection of these ceremonies and recognitions. 

Undergraduate Programs

Integrative Health Minor Graduation Ceremony

Integrative Health Minor's Ceremony in the Art Gallery
Photo by Lizzie Nealis.

The Integrative Health minor graduated 40 students in a ceremony on Thursday, April 4, in the on-campus Art Gallery.

Students made an oath to use their knowledge to “restore, maintain and enhance the health” of their communities after graduation. In addition, there were speeches by the program's coordinator Mary Lou Galantino and the dean of the School of Health Sciences Lee Bryant, as well as "experiential pearls" of wisdom from alumna Shayla Nagle '23. 

The Integrative Health minor (previously called the Holistic Health minor) is a program within the School of Health Sciences that aims to provide students with a foundation to explore various holistic therapies and integrative medicine. Through interprofessional education, the minor helps students learn more about complementary and alternative health care through education, research and critical thinking among an array of health care professionals. 

Graduates: Samantha Aguirre, Katelyn Beetel, Tori Benoit, Maggie Brennan, Alana Brogan, Briana Cajeira, Michael Carfagno, Elienay Carranza, Adriana Clayton, Isabella Concepcion-Sagarate, Madison Costello, Hailey Crino, Karlie Deckert, Hayley DiMeola, Isabella Edwards, Sophia Fortner, Ashley Gale, Jaselice Garcia, Ashley Hargis, Shannon Healey, Isabel Hernandez, Cassidy Hogan, Lucas Hunter, Naomi Jardine, Taylor Lee, Hailey Malandra, Brianna Marino, Nicole Meehan, Lauren Mevoli, Shayla Nagle, Jordyn Neff, Isha Patel, Madison Pesavage, Julia Roura, Christina Romano, Sherwin Shibu, Gabriella Simao, Giuliana Spirito, Nicolas Walsh-Defelice, Alexis Weaver and Kathryn Zanvettor.

B.F.A. Senior Exhibition and Reverse Networking Fair 

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 Photos by Lizzie Nealis. 

On Sunday, April 21, graduating students from the Visual Arts program showcased their portfolios in their annual B.F.A. Senior Exhibition.

In addition to exhibiting the projects that they worked on throughout the school year, students had the opportunity to network with prospective employers in what was described as a “reverse” networking fair organized by the School of Arts & Humanities and the Career Education & Development office.

The Visual Arts program at Stockton provides students with the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in the arts or to prepare for a graduate education. The bachelor of Fine Arts degree includes concentrations in photography, studio art, and visual communications. 

Visual Communications Graduates: Onisha Alamgir, Adrien Campos-Ferreira, Celeste Casino, Anna Cavanagh, Sheri Goodrich, Maya Hendrix, Colin McHugh, Amy Ouyang, Katelyn Rider, D’Maje Robinson and Jordyn Simon

Photography Graduates: Mac Hines and Makenzie Larkin 

Africana Studies Rite of Passage Ceremony

Africana Studies' Rites of Passage Ceremony
Photo by Mark Melhorn.

Twelve graduating students from the Africana Studies program celebrated their achievements among their friends and family on Friday, May 3, in the Campus Center Event Room.

The ceremony marked their transition from student to scholar-activist. The ceremony included libations from Kimoni Yaw Ajani, assistant professor of Africana Studies, and words of wisdom from Olutoyosi Aboderin, alumna and Dual Credit coordinator for the program.

The Africana Studies program within the School of Arts & Humanities provides the opportunity for students to study, analyze and systematically evaluate the various disciplines from an Africana perspective. The program – which is affiliated with the National Council for Black Studies and their honor society, Ankh Maat Wedjau – gives students from all ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds a forum to examine intellectual life, the historical experience and the cultural understanding of one of this country’s largest racial minority groups. 

Graduates: Lillian Nickens (B.A.), Akili Allison, Keesha Blake-Jones, Victoria Corless, Anisah Dean, Mac Hines, Kamal Hurst, Trystin Johnson, Julie Marshall, Tia Outlaw, Rachelle Pittman and Aiya Underwood. 

Nursing Program's Pinning Ceremony

Nursing students before getting pinned
Photo by Lizzie Nealis.

The Nursing program within the School of Health Sciences held its 14th annual pinning ceremony in the Campus Center Theatre on Thursday, May 9. 

The baccalaureate Nursing program enables students to become registered nurses while completing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The program works to develop students' understanding of theories and concepts from the physical, social and behavioral sciences and the humanities in order to prepare them to participate in a culturally diverse and ever changing global society. 

Graduate Programs

Doctor of Physical Therapy's Commitment Ceremony

DPT Commitment Ceremony
Photo by Lizzie Nealis.

Future physical therapists made an official commitment to the profession in a white coat ceremony in the Campus Center Theatre on Wednesday, April 3.

The students, graduating in 2025, enjoyed a ceremony that included making an oath of commitment and speeches by President Joe Bertolino, Brent Arnold, dean for the School of Health Sciences, and alumna Amanda Heritage DPT ’11.  

Physical Therapy is a health care profession that improves and maintains an individual's ability to move and assists in the prevention of movement disorders. The DPT program within the School of Health Sciences' mission is to prepare students for contemporary physical therapy practice to function effectively for the patient/client, community and profession.

Class of 2025: Venissa Albanilla, Jessica Abrahims, Tim Blaney, Agnes Cancio, Linda Cherkaoui, Emma Crewe, Tyler Cruz, Quinn Daniel, Justin Donnamaria, Frederick Runyon Fulper II, Kiaraa Fulton, Daniel Gutierrez Reyes, Zach Huber, Michael Hutchison, Jayda Issa, Ryan Kunzler, Blaise Lawson, Hannah Macauley, Kayci Meyer, Nikki Mooney, Michael Ofsanko, Sherline Oluchina, Marissa Primo, Jessica Rafalko, Jesus Rufino, Tyler Rzemyk, Emily Scala, Olivia Schuck, Kayla Singiser, Gregory Sousa and Bryan Alexis Vasquez Cajas. 

Master of Arts in Counseling White Coat Ceremony

MA in Counseling white coat ceremony
Photo submitted by Demi Emmons M.A. '24.

After seeing other programs associated with the medical field host white coat ceremonies both on and off campus, the Counseling Student Organization decided to host one to celebrate each other's accomplishments as a cohort. 

Starting this year, students graduating from the Counseling program will have the opportunity to don white coats and pledge their commitment to the profession. They held their inaugural ceremony on Friday, April 26, on Stockton’s Hammonton campus. 

The Counseling program is a graduate program designed to educate and train students about best practices in mental health and in the skills necessary to work a diverse range of clients in a variety of settings. The program's curriculum includes instruction in human development, psychopathology, individual and group counseling, personality theory, career assessment, patient screening and referral, observation and testing techniques, interviewing skills, professional standards and ethics and applicable laws and regulations. 

Graduates: Carla Bugilone, Zabrina Clement, Kayla Cruzado, Travis Diller, Devon Dorso, Demi Emmons, Kenia Euba-Ruiz, Van Nhi Ho, Konstantine Karatzas, Lauren Last, Arianna Maggio, Veronica Morano, Matherin Toth-Nahm, Gianna Williams and Hannah Wilson.

Finally Finished.D. Hooding Ceremony

Doctoral candidates after being hooded
Photo submitted by Naheel Naber, student success coach for EOF.

When doctoral students successfully defend their dissertations, they are presented with their doctoral hoods for graduation by faculty members in the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership program in a ceremony organized by the program’s student organization, Organizational Leaders in Action (OLA).

On Saturday, April 27, this year’s cohort held a ceremony that included speeches from President Joe Bertolino, program chair Sequetta Sweet and newly minted Dr. Adrian Wiggins, who serves as Stockton’s director of Campus Public Safety. Dinner and award presentations were enjoyed with their peers, friends and family.

The Ed.D. program at Stockton – which provides graduate students leadership development and network-building with executive-style seven-week courses – is completely virtual, making opportunities to celebrate in person that much more important and intimate for students. 

(Hooded) Graduates: Mary Ann Bell, Darvis Holley, Rich Jankowski, Sherri Richardson, Matthew Romen, Destiny Talley, Sarah Taylor-Deak, Adrian Wiggins and Beau Younker.

Honor Societies

Pi Delta Phi (Pi Zeta Chapter) French Honor Society

Pi Delta Phi Induction
Photo submitted by Kory Olson, professor of French.

Stockton's Pi Zeta chapter of the Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society had its induction ceremony on Monday, April 1.

Pi Delta Phi is the highest academic honor in the field of French and the oldest academic honor society for a modern foreign language in the United States. The society’s purpose is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French language and Francophone literature, increase Americans' knowledge and appreciation of the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and stimulate and encourage French and Francophone cultural activities. 

Inductees: Detty-Maidanove Exantus, Abigail Jacobo and Kollisa Pimentel. 

Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society

Beta Gamma Sigma
Photo submitted by Catherine Avgerinos, program assistant for the School of Business.

Stockton’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society hosted an induction ceremony on Thursday, April 18, at the Atlantic City campus.

Ray Ciccone, member of the  stockton Board of Trustees, gave a keynote speech during the program and new members were inducted by students Theodora Eaton and James Burd, who respectively serve as president and secretary of the honor society, and alum Rahul Aggarwal. 

The Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society has been recognizing business excellence since its founding in 1913. Membership in BGS is the highest worldwide recognition an undergraduate or graduate business student at an AACSB-accredited school can achieve. 

Inductees: Jonathan Baez, Shayla Cofka, Danielle Cordivari, Thi Linh Trang Do, Alyson Doyle, Matthew Moore, Peyton Schultz and Khushi Shah. 

Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society

Psi Chi Induction
Photo by Lizzie Nealis.

Stockton’s chapter of the national Psi Chi Honor Society inducted 13 students on Friday, April 26, in the Board of Trustees Room.

The ceremony included scholarship awards, distinction project presentations and a keynote speech by Samantha Gregus Slade of Wichita State University. Alumni David Williams, who is currently associate dean of the School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity at Brown University, was honored during the program.

Psi Chi is a college student honor society in psychology with international outreach founded in 1929 at the University of Kansas in the United States. Psi Chi is one of the largest honor societies in the United States, with more than 1,160 chapters. 

Inductees: Olivia Bereza, Emily Fania, Gabrielle Friel, Abigail Hopkins, Laura Hunt, Julianne Johnson, Shakiyah Laws, Kayla Moura, Karly Pratt, Jasmine Prestia, Arwyn Russell, Rachel Soucier and Matthew Yeager.

Eta Sigma Delta Hospitality Honor Society

Eta Sigma Delta induction
Photo submitted by Donna Albano, professor of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management.

Twenty-four students in Stockton’s Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management program were inducted into the Eta Sigma Delta Hospitality Honor Society on Sunday, April 28.

Following welcome remarks by the program's chair, Noel Criscione Naylor, President Joe Bertolino was honorarily inducted into the honor society shortly before the students. Inductees received their honor cord, pin and certificate from chapter president Tanoya Blake. 

Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society has about 90 chapters. The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education administers the organization. 

Inductees: Maximilian Bishop, Jonathan Bodner, Grace Cioffi, Emily Daniels, Gabriella DeFrancisco, Alexander Eckmeder, Lance Eckstein, Blake Ferraro, Steven Iannone, Aurelia Larkin, Tara Magee, Nicole Mazzetta, Tyler McDonnell, Alessia Odato, Lydia Pool, Colin Rieser, Krystal Ruiz-Mesa, Jack Schiavo, Kaylie Shannon, Gabriella Statile, Grace Tarantino, Laddis Taylor, Jacob Thompson and Samantha Titus. 

Pi Sigma Alpha (Alpha Zeta Rho chapter) National Political Science Honor Society

Pi Sigma Alpha induction
Photo by Gianna Schiattarella.

On April 19, during the annual Arcuri Wharton Pre-Law Fund Awards, eligible graduating students were inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society. 

Lauren Balasco, associate professor of Political Science, led the induction and had students declare their acceptance of and commitment to the ideals of high scholarship, integrity and citizenship. 

Pi Sigma Alpha is the only honor society for college and university students of political and social sciences in the United States. Its purpose is to recognize and promote high academic achievement in the field of political science. 

Inductees: Sultan Aydin, Aaron Carrington, Jordan Davis, Detty-Maidanove Exantus, Zoey Elizabeth Gross, Dylan Irmiere, Arti Kapoor, Robert Martinez, Christian Pimenta, Raneen Laith Rehani, Andrea Sandoval and Joseph Wozniak. 

New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association Honor Society

The New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association Honor Society (NJCBAA), established by the deans of the colleges of business at two-year and four-year colleges within New Jersey, recognizes the very highest academic achievement of undergraduate students pursuing their studies in the field of business.

Only the top 1% of students at their respective collegiate institutions are invited to join this honor society.

Inductees Alyson Doyle, Noah Pollack and Bryle Ramos were unable to attend the May 3 induction ceremony at Rutgers University but received their honors cords and certificates.

Special Recognitions

Educational Opportunity Fund Recognition Banquet

EOF Banquet
Photo submitted by Luiza Abbamonte, on behalf of student Tyler Parker.

Graduating seniors in the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program were honored with an off-campus celebration on Thursday, April 11.

Students received certificates and stoles for commencement and listened to speeches by Magdalena Nunez-Martinez and Tori Benoit. They celebrated their achievements, both academic and personal, with each other, friends and families. 

EOF has helped thousands of students in New Jersey receive a higher education through financial assistance, academic and career advising and programs such as the Summer Academy, which support their transition from high schoolers to college students to young professionals. 

Veterans Coining Ceremony

Vets Coining Ceremony
Photo by Lizzie Nealis.

Every year, graduating students with military ties are presented with special Stockton challenge coins at a ceremony in Independence Plaza. This year, nine students were presented with coins on Wednesday, April 24.

The tradition of challenge coins can be traced to World War II when American forces deployed to the far reaches of the globe to secure the nation’s freedom. When they left for battle, they kept a coin with them in their pocket and kept it after the conflict as a lasting remembrance of their wartime experiences. 

Stockton has a proud tradition of service to our men and women in uniform, and the Office of Military & Veteran Services takes this responsibility very seriously. Over 400 military-affiliated students attend Stockton each semester. 

Graduates: Stephanie Doyle, Kenia Euba-Ruiz, Nikeysha Morales Mendez, Jessica Nash, Tim Randazzo, Jennifer Rios, Aidan Rollison, Francesca Tattoli and Adrian Wiggins. 

Lavender Graduation

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Photos by Lizzie Nealis.

Graduating LGBTQ+ students were honored with a ceremony that included dinner, speeches and a pinning on Monday, May 6, in the Campus Center Event Room.

The tradition of hosting a lavender graduation ceremony for LGBTQ+ students have roots in the University of Michigan; a Jewish lesbian was denied entry to the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation, leading her to design the first-ever ceremony in 1995. Since then, LGBTQ+ students at colleges and universities like Stockton University have been afforded the opportunity to be honored and celebrated in a ceremony in a safe and brave space with their loved ones. 

The Women's, Gender & Sexuality Center empowers students who identify as women and all genders who identify as LGBTQIA+, victims of power-based personal violence, and community allies. WGSC will accomplish this by promoting equality and justice, ensuring access to opportunities, and providing services through education and advocacy. 

Graduates: Tori Benoit, Jasmine Burdett, Caitlin Chan, Hunter Chuako, Steven Crosby, Devon Dorso, Stefanie Duncan, Van Nhi Ho, Mac Hines, Mo Keane, Danielle Leehan, Carolanne Marsden, Liz Myers, Jessica Nash, Erin Nevin, Victoria Orlowski, Alison Reeve, Jennifer Rios, Kyla Torrez and Imani Turner.

First-Generation Send-Off Celebration 

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Photos by Lizzie Nealis.

Being the first in one’s family to graduate from a college or university is cause for celebration. Student organization First Ospreys hosted a send-off for graduating students that included dinner, words of wisdom from faculty and staff and stoles for graduation.

Nearly half of Stockton students identify as first-generation students. This fact has inspired initiatives and programs that support both students and their families in their university journey, breaking barriers one student at a time. 

Featured Graduates – Class of 2024

A collage of the Featured Graduates for Class of 2024
Featured Graduates for the Class of 2024. Photos by Susan Allen. 

Canceled. Postponed. Deferred. These are the words that Stockton University's Class of 2024 faced when beginning their college journey during the height of the pandemic.

Each of the nearly 2,000 students graduating May 7 (Master's/Doctoral) & May 10 (Bachelor's) has their own story of obstacles, hardship and adversity, usually behind masks or online.

Throughout their stories, we see them beat the odds by being conscientious, spirited and versatile in their own unique ways. 

More Than 300 Receive Master’s, Doctoral Degrees

May 7, 2024 

This year’s Doctoral and Master’s Ceremony honored 326 graduates on May 7.
This year’s Doctoral and Master’s Ceremony honored 326 graduates on May 7.

Galloway, N.J. – Community and relationships transformed the lives of the students graduating with master’s and doctoral degrees, President Joe Bertolino told the graduates and crowd of families and supporters in the Stockton University Sports Center on Tuesday. 

“What I’ve learned is life and success are all about relationships. These relationships build communities of opportunity. My charge to all of you is to be the leaders who build communities of opportunity wherever it is you are headed next,” Bertolino said. “In your life, personally and professionally, pay it forward by mentoring a student or colleague, sharing constructive feedback, and supporting those around you. Take a chance on someone; you never know what kind of impact you can have by being there, offering a kind word, or making a connection.”  

Graduates Urged to Take Advantage of Stockton Community 

May 10, 2024 

Stockton University held two ceremonies on May 10 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for 2,000 graduates who received bachelor’s degrees.
Stockton University held two ceremonies on May 10 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for 2,000 graduates who received bachelor’s degrees.

Atlantic City, N.J. — Possibly more than any other graduating group of Stockton University students, the Class of 2024 knows the importance of building a strong community.

The university held two ceremonies, one at 9:30 a.m. and one at 2:30 p.m. on May 10 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall for 2,000 graduates who received bachelor’s degrees.

Many of the students gathered for the ceremonies didn’t get a high school graduation. The COVID-19 pandemic discouraged gatherings of large groups of people and further isolated students by forcing classes online. 

“When we first met, we only knew what each other’s eyes looked like above our masks,” said Maya Vaughn, a Bachelor of Science graduate in Psychology with a minor in Behavioral Neuroscience, who spoke at the morning ceremony. “We’ve accomplished something so large and indescribable, something others can’t say they’ve done. No other generation of college students have experienced what we persevered through.” 

– Story by Loukaia Taylor