Cabrini University celebrated its Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 17, hosting two Virtual Conferral of Degrees events amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 507 degrees were conferred on 324 undergraduate and 183 graduate students during the online ceremony.
“The Class of 2020 will always be a special group in Cabrini’s history, whose achievements stand as beacons of hope, faith, and resiliency in a time of worldwide crisis,” said Cabrini President Donald B. Taylor, PhD.
As part of the degree conferrals, Cabrini’s Director of Campus Ministry and Chaplain, Rev. Carl F. Janicki, prepared a video blessing for the graduates.
“Today, you are recipients of a Cabrini University degree, an Education of the Heart,” Janicki said. “May you find in the lessons you have learned through success, and most importantly, through setbacks, the wisdom to create: systems of equity, a life of harmony and peace with all creation, the courage to be agents of change in a world which desperately, now more than ever, needs your passion, gifts, and talents to bring about global healing.”
Adding to the festivities was a virtual toast to the Class of 2020, featuring congratulatory videos from Cabrini alumni, faculty, and staff, which was sent to the graduates and aired on social media on Thursday, May 14.
Also announced at the Virtual Conferral of Degrees were some of the student award recipients.
The 2020 Mother Ursula Award, given to an undergraduate senior student who, in the opinion of his or her peers, best fulfills the ideals of the University through academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership, and service to classmates, was awarded to Camilia Katkocin. Katkocin, who graduated from Cabrini’s Honors Program as a Political Science and Philosophy double major, also served as a Resident Assistant and Music Minister leading Cabrini’s church choir.
The annual Cabrini Who’s Who honors are awarded to seniors who have demonstrated extraordinary academic performance, leadership, and service on and off campus. Cabrini’s 2020 Who’s Who are:
Grace Adams Daisy Rodriguez
Danielle Basile Isabella Romani
Juan Castro-Caro Selena Sciafla
Katherine Fiore Emma Tribbett
Lyndsey Guarino Natalie Wharton
Camilia Katkocin Chardanay White
Elaina Loveland Diana Whittaker
Sydney Lynch Maddy Wojton
Francesca Maslin Rachel Wood
Cabrini’s annual Faculty Awards also took a virtual presence this year, announced May 6 via Zoom event.
In faculty honors, Cabrini’s annual Buzzallino Awards, founded by esteemed Cabrini alumna Joan Buzzallino (’66), recognizes faculty members who are dedicated to academic excellence and outstanding undergraduate teaching, and who carry out the vision and spirit of Cabrini College on a daily basis. This year’s honorees include:
- Joseph Cimakasky, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, for his proposed course on modern happiness
- Amber Gentile, EdD, Graduate Secondary Education Program Coordinator, and Colleen Lelli, EdD, Associate Professor of Education, for their trauma-informed school districts blueprint
- Michelle Szpara, PhD, Associate Professor of Graduate Education, for her proposal to improve understanding of campus inclusivity for Muslim-identifying students, faculty, and staff
Lelli, who serves as Director for Cabrini’s Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education, also received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest honor awarded to a Cabrini instructor each year. Since 1961, the Lindback Award has been granted to extraordinary educators in the Philadelphia area. Today, 52 institutions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey grant the award.
Four exceptional adjunct instructors were also recognized for their work fulfilling Cabrini’s Education of the Heart during the 2019-2020 academic year. Adjunct professors of the year were:
- Perry Brisbon, Music Adjunct, School of Business, Arts, and Media
- Joyce Biletz, English Adjunct, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Ina Galer, Teacher Education Adjunct, School of Education
- Carol McCarry, Mathematics Adjunct, School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health
Cabrini anticipates further celebrating the Class of 2020 and their achievements with an in-person Commencement ceremony as soon as it is safe to do so. More information on that event, currently planned for Saturday, Aug. 8, will be provided closer to the date.