On September 12, Indiana University of Pennsylvania will post virtual commencement ceremonies for more than 1,800 May and August 2020 graduates who have completed requirements for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

IUP President Michael Driscoll delivers commencement remarks to a socially distanced audience inside Gorell Recital Hall in Sutton Hall.

IUP President Michael Driscoll delivers commencement remarks to a socially distanced audience inside Gorell Recital Hall in Sutton Hall.

Three graduates have been selected to offer remarks during the ceremonies and 26 bachelor's degree graduates are recognized for achieving perfect 4.0 grade-point averages during their undergraduate careers.

There will be six individual ceremonies for viewing on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m. Each ceremony will be specific to the graduate, master's, and doctoral recipients of each college. IUP's colleges are Education and Communications, Fine Arts, Health and Human Services, Humanities and Social Sciences, the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology.

Brittany Hull, from Chester, who will receive her doctor of philosophy in English, was nominated and chosen to give the graduate student address. She is the daughter of Norma Hull and Lewis Hynson, both of Chester. Hull has accepted a job as a career track lecturer at Stanford University in California and will begin teaching rhetoric courses there on September 14.

At IUP, Hull received several awards as a PhD student and while teaching as a temporary faculty member. She was awarded a graduate student fellowship twice and in 2017 was chosen for the IUP People's Choice Award for teaching writing. In 2018, Hull was the recipient of the Scholars for the Dream Award by the Conference on College Composition and Communication, which provides scholarship funds to travel to the annual conference.

Hull's doctoral research within Composition and Applied Linguistics examines traditional norms of speech and challenges how race and gender impact language of the speech of African American women in academia.

“As a black woman, I'm in a field that has traditionally been defined by white language,” Hull said. “I identify as a speaker of African American language and that's how I wrote my dissertation. My doctoral committee took a chance by letting me use my real voice. It's authentically me. I'm grateful to them for letting me pursue this passion and study this topic.”

She credits her doctoral committee, which she calls her “dream team,” for seeing her through the ups and downs of her research and asking her hard questions. Hull said her committee chair, Matthew Vetter, was invested in her success and engaged with her work.

“With him, the learning never stops,” Hull said. “It's a mark of a true scholar to be introduced to new material and grow from it. I would read articles for my research, share them with him, and then I'd see them in his syllabus the next semester. He was unequivocally open to my ideas and work. That experience with him, as my mentor, is how I want to be with my current and future students.”

Graduate student speaker Dr. Brittany Hull '20 (left) and undergraduate speaker Madison Hornstein '20 (right) stand beside IUP President Michael Driscoll.

Graduate student speaker Dr. Brittany Hull '20 (left) and undergraduate speaker Madison Hornstein '20 (right) stand beside IUP President Michael Driscoll.

Two students were selected to speak to undergraduates.

Madison Hornstein is the daughter of Jamie and Diane Hornstein of Conneaut Lake. She received a bachelor of science in biochemistry and is currently enrolled in a master's program studying biomedical engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She is a 2016 graduate of Conneaut Area Senior High School.

As a member of the Cook Honors College, she won the 2020 College Chemistry Award and in 2019 the Chemistry Department Academic Achievement Award. Hornstein recalls in her speech to members of the class of 2020 that her struggle to find a path as an undergraduate gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to stick with a major that she wasn't sure she wanted to pursue.

“IUP instilled a sense of grit in me, to just get over myself and do it,” Hornstein said. “I had a moment of panic at 2:00 a.m. one night, and I googled motivational quotes. I wrote them down on sticky notes to surround myself with positivity at all times. The hardest part of finding success was believing that I could.”

Three motivational sayings that she repeats frequently: stay positive; work hard; and make it happen. Those were words for her to live by as she was dismissed from the Honors College because of low grades. She was eventually readmitted as her grades climbed, and the experience is now a point of reflection.

“I know I need support,” Hornstein said. “You can't do anything by yourself. Family, friends, peers, professors, a strong social network—for my success, that was key. I couldn't have imagined how I would grow from the first day on campus at IUP to the last. I could have never envisioned the person I have become.”

Fine Arts graduate Andrew Junttonen from King of Prussia will also speak to undergraduates. He is the son of Karen Reiment and is a 2016 graduate of Upper Merion Area School District. As a dual-degree recipient in music education and music performance, Junttonen is continuing to pursue his passion for music composition and is enrolled in a master's program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Junttonen credits one of his professors in the Music Department for recognizing his hard work and determination to succeed outside of class assignments, which ultimately led him to decide to pursue a master's degree.

“He didn't push me to go to grad school, but he very much encouraged me to continue my education,” Junttonen said. “Originally, I just figured I'd go out and be a teacher. It turns out that wasn't what I wanted the most. Now, I'm much happier pursuing this passion.”

In his four years at IUP, he was a member of IUP's Marching Band (The Legend), held two recitals—one in which he played and one in which he composed; and wrote an arrangement for the marching band and countless arrangements for music ensembles. He credits exposure to all sorts of music and traveling internationally as part of his success.

“IUP curates a way to allow students to do as much as they can, while also giving them a really good foundation of education,” Junttonen said. “I had so many performance opportunities inside and outside the Music Department, which only grows your knowledge. My entire four years was such a rich experience.”

Of the invitations to students to receive degrees for the May and August 2020 graduations, there are 1,360 bachelor's degrees, 393 master's degrees, 69 doctoral degrees, and 14 associate degrees. Of the bachelor's degree applicants, 663 qualify for Latin honors with a grade-point average of 3.25 or above.

The total number of graduates by college for May and August is: 259 from the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology; 167 from the College of Education and Educational Technology; 56 from the College of Fine Arts; 574 from the College of Health and Human Services; 147 from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; 194 from the Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and 462 from the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

IUP President Michael Driscoll will preside over the commencement ceremonies. Samuel Smith, chair of the IUP Council of Trustees and vice-chair of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors, will offer remarks on behalf of the Council of Trustees.

Melissa Craig, a human resource management graduate from Tidioute, will present the senior class gift. She is the daughter of David and Christina Craig of Tidioute. Gino Parillo, a fine arts graduate from Derry, will sing the IUP alma mater. He is the son of Laura and John Parillo of Derry.

Ceremonies are being held virtually on Saturday for May and August graduates after President Driscoll announced in late March the postponement of May in-person graduation activities. Restrictive guidelines for large indoor gatherings are still in place due to COVID-19. Furthermore, no in-person, on-campus departmental ceremonies are being held.