Seton Hall’s Class of 2015 celebrate at graduation, prepare for next chapter

Photo Credit: Milan Stanic

Photo Credit: Milan Stanic

For most graduates from Seton Hall University’s class of 2015, the conclusion of their undergraduate careers could be described by one of three words: scary, exciting and surreal.

Anticipation radiated from every graduate in the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, entirely covered in SHU Blue, on Monday at the Baccalaureate Commencement.

Before the ceremony, the class of 2015 could be found taking pictures with friends or nostalgically reflecting on their four years at SHU.

Ariana Dispalatro, graduating “magna cum laude” from the Stillman School of Business, said that college gave the graduates a “false sense of responsibility.” She noted that throughout her four years, someone was always there to catch her when she fell, but now she must face the real world on her own.

Priscilla Guzman, a College of Arts and Sciences graduate, said, “It’s been a long road, but it was definitely worth it.”

Throughout the ceremony, the big screens showed tweets from students, family and friends with the hashtag “#SetonHall2015.”

Dr. Chrysanthy M. Grieco, the Associate Professor Emerita and former dean of University Libraries, along with the rest of the Commencement Speaker Committee, invited the student with the highest GPA from each school and college to apply to be the commencement speaker. Each student wrote a commencement address reflecting on their Seton Hall education and how it helped them create their future plan.

Based on content and delivery, the Commencement Speaker Committee named Isabella Duarte Valedictorian, Janielle K.Viuya Salutatorian, and Alma A. Banyai the alternate speaker.

Isabella Duarte, the representative from the College of Arts and Sciences, graduated “summa cum laude” with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and a minor in applied scientific mathematics. Originally from Cancun in Mexico, Duarte will be pursuing a doctorate in medical physics on a full scholarship at Duke University in the fall.

“The world is fragile,” Duarte said to the excited graduates. “Let’s make it better. Let’s make it ours.”

Christine Byrne, music and theater performance double major, wowed the audience several times throughout the ceremony with her vocal performances, from her rendition of the National Anthem to leading the Alma Mater at the end.

She performed a musical interlude, “Astonishing” from the musical “Little Women.” The inspiring lyrics from this song spoke to the enthusiastic graduates.

“I may be small,” Byrne sang, “but I’ve got giant plans to shine as brightly as the sun.”

Matthew Ullrich, graduating “summa cum laude” with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the Stillman School of Business, was chosen to represent the Student Government Association at the Commencement Ceremony with a greeting from the senior class.

Ullrich challenged his fellow graduates to follow their dreams in the real world.

“Let’s go out into the world and make our lives extraordinary,” said Ullrich.

Some people took this commencement as an opportunity to make a statement on the recent controversy, Father Hall’s removal from his position at SHU. One academic marshal processed in and out holding a hot pink sign that displayed “NOH8,” which the audience and graduates supported with applause.

As each graduate’s name was called, the crowd erupted with shouts and cheers. The graduates, smiling with pride, could be seen waving and presenting their degrees to the crowd.

Brianna Bernath can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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