Governor Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro will present the commencement address at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s 2:00 p.m. undergraduate ceremony on May 11 and will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from IUP during the ceremony.

“IUP is honored to host Governor Shapiro,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “His work to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania has been exemplary and groundbreaking on many fronts, and I am certain that his remarks will be inspirational for our graduates, their families, our faculty and staff, and everyone attending commencement,” he said. “I am proud, on behalf of the university, to have the opportunity to present him with a well-deserved honorary Doctor of Public Service degree in recognition of his lifelong commitment to public service.”

IUP will hold three commencement ceremonies. The graduate degree ceremony is May 10 at 7:00 p.m., honoring 379 master’s degree recipients and 77 doctoral degree recipients. A total of 1,100 bachelor’s degree recipients will be honored during two ceremonies on May 11: one at 9:00 a.m. for students in the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Health and Human Services, and one at 2:00 p.m. for students in the Eberly College of Business, the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Education and Communications, and the University College.

Commencement ceremonies will be held at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Tickets are required for admission and are distributed to graduates and their families; no tickets are available for purchase. All three ceremonies will be live streamed on the IUP YouTube channel.

Governor Shapiro grew up in Pennsylvania, watching his parents serve their community—his father was a pediatrician, and his mother was an educator. Their example inspired him to enter into public service, and from a young age, he recognized that standing up for others was how he wanted to spend his career.

After marrying his high-school sweetheart Lori and welcoming their first child, he returned to his hometown and successfully ran for state representative. As representative, he helped write and pass some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. His work earned him a reputation as a rare public servant willing to take on the status quo—“a blast of oxygen in the smoke-choked back rooms of quid-pro-quo Harrisburg.” 

Then, as chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s third-largest county, he led a fiscal and ethical turnaround. Before he took office, Montgomery County had a $10 million budget deficit and an underfunded pension for county employees. He put the county back on solid financial footing, took early steps to combat the heroin epidemic, helped the first LGBTQ+ couples in Pennsylvania marry, and fired Wall Street money managers to save taxpayers and retirees millions. 

In 2016, he successfully ran to be Pennsylvania’s attorney general. As attorney general, he has restored integrity to an office badly in need of reform and has taken on big fights for the people. He has proven to Pennsylvanians he can bring people together to solve tough problems and is unafraid to enforce the law without fear or favor. 

He exposed the Catholic Church’s decades-long cover-up of child sexual abuse, identifying 301 predator priests and thousands of victims—and spurring investigations across the United States. He forced an agreement between two of the commonwealth’s largest insurance companies, protecting health care access for nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians, and he has repeatedly gone to court to defend Pennsylvanians’ reproductive rights and a woman’s right to choose.

He has held more than 100 corrupt officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, accountable for breaking the law. Working with law enforcement partners at the local, state, and federal levels, he’s arrested thousands of mid- and high-level drug dealers while getting thousands of illegal guns off our streets.

During the 2020 presidential election, he protected the right to vote and defended Pennsylvania’s election result, winning in court dozens of times before and after Election Day. He continues to call out the dangerous lies that undermine our democracy and provide steady, strong, and competent leadership to protect voting rights in Pennsylvania. 

In January 2021, he was sworn in for his second term as attorney general. He arrested more than 8,000 drug dealers while investigating and suing pharmaceutical companies and the CEOs who knowingly perpetuated the opioid crisis to line their own pockets. He stood up for everyday consumers, seniors who’ve been scammed, and students preyed upon by private lenders by obtaining over $328 million in relief to Pennsylvanians who have been ripped off. He led criminal justice reform, bringing activists and law enforcement together to launch a new statewide police misconduct database and taking on employers who steal from Pennsylvania workers. 

In November 2022, he made history as the highest vote-getter in Pennsylvania gubernatorial history. Alongside his running mate Austin Davis, Governor Shapiro is working with every Pennsylvanian to move the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania forward. 

Governor and Mrs. Shapiro are the proud parents of Sophia, Jonah, Max, and Reuben.

IUP will also honor Ellen Sylves Ruddock, a 1966 IUP graduate and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during May commencement ceremonies.

Ruddock, a long-time Indiana resident, is a community advocate and entrepreneur who continues to blaze trails for leadership opportunities, especially for women. Ruddock will deliver remarks at the graduate-degree ceremony on May 10 at 7:00 p.m. and at the undergraduate ceremony on May 11 at 9:00 a.m.

IUP has granted only 57 honorary degrees in its history. Recipients are leaders in fields ranging from the arts to business to public service and have included the late US Rep. John P. Murtha, Andre Previn, James “Jimmy” Stewart, Fred Rogers, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Glenn Cannon.

The IUP Senate Academic Committee makes the nomination and recommends the nominee to the IUP Commencement Committee and the president. The nominee must be approved by the IUP Council of Trustees, with notification given to the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System.