More than 1,000 Graduate from Bucks County Community College

Keynote speaker Charles Meredith III received an honorary doctorate at the college’s 48th annual commencement.

Bucks County Community College celebrated its 48th annual commencement Thursday May 22 by welcoming Charles Meredith III, a veteran of newspaper publishing and a former Bucks County Commissioner, as commencement speaker. The ceremony took place in the Gymnasium on the college’s Newtown campus.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1957, Meredith followed his father and grandfather into the newspaper craft as publisher of the Quakertown Free Press until 1996. As a journalist, his articles have appeared in the Free Press, the Bucks County Herald, the Allentown Morning Call and the East Penn Press. He served as the President of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association and was a director in the American Newspaper Association.

Meredith also served as a Bucks County Commissioner, director of Quakertown National Bank, chairman of East Penn AAA, chairman of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, past master of Quakertown’s Masonic fraternity, and president of the Quakertown Rotary.   

Meredith lauded the college’s achievements in the fifty years since it was founded by the Bucks County Commissioners, and challenged graduates to get involved in public service in order to make a profound impact on their communities.

“Get involved with the 54 municipalities that make up Bucks County. Run for public office. Become the next generation in the state legislature,” said Meredith. “I’ll bet that you, the class of 2014, can get it done.”

The college recognized Meredith’s achievements by granting him an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree, presented by college president Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt and Board of Trustees chair Blake Eisenhart.

Julia Peoples Serves as Student Speaker

The class of 2014 – which numbers more than 1,000 – also heard from one of its own. Julia Peoples (right) of Doylestown was chosen to address her classmates in recognition of her outstanding achievements.

The liberal arts major who aspires to earn a Ph.D., was active in the College’s PiXi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year institutions. Peoples held several offices in the organization before taking over as president, and was chosen to represent the college as a member of PTK’s All-Pennsylvania Academic Team. Peoples urged her classmates to “always think about everything you can gain from each opportunity.” 

“I want you to imagine a world of possibilities, and then realize that the reality will be so much more. You have so much to gain from taking the smallest chances,” said Peoples.  “It’s going to be hard, and your dreams might not come in the way you’d expect, but…taking chances is the best way to learn. You might not always accomplish what you thought, but you will always grow.”

The ceremony featured the BCCC Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Music Area Assistant Professor Rochelle Reed, performing our national anthem and the college's alma mater. Also, Assistant Professor Jeff Baumeister led the BCCC Graduation Ensemble performing his own arrangement of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Professor Michaeleen Lee of the Dept. of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math, who is among more than a dozen faculty members retiring after this academic year, served as marshal of the processional.

Honors Convocation Salutes Scholars

‌Earlier Thursday, Bucks celebrated top students, faculty and alumni at its annual Honors Convocation ceremony, presenting more than $250,000 in scholarships and awards at an afternoon ceremony in the Gateway Auditorium.

All told, more than 200 awards were presented by President Shanblatt, Interim Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs Catherine McElroy, and Tobias Bruhn, Executive Director of the BCCC Foundation. Most of the funds came from the BCCC Foundation, a nonprofit educational trust which manages a $6 million endowment.

Nursing Graduates Get 'Pinned'

Nursing graduates were also honored with a pinning ceremony Wednesday May 21 in the Gymnasium.

Keynote speaker was Edward Walton, D.HSc, a 1988 graduate of the college’s associate degree nursing program.  Walton is director of graduate nurse programs at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He completed his BSN at Thomas Jefferson University, his MSN at Saint Joseph’s University, and his Doctoral of Health Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. He also served as a lieutenant for nearly 10 years in the U.S. Naval Reserve in support of marines assigned to a fleet hospital. Walton, who has been published in two medical journals and holds a U.S. patent, is currently researching the antimicrobial and wound-healing properties of the North American cranberry. 

The student speaker was Bilal Williams of Philadelphia, who earned his associate degree in nursing while working full-time as a licensed practical nurse at Albert Einstein Medical Center.  Williams has been an LPN for more than 10 years, including service as a U.S. Army Combat Medic assigned to the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Colorado. Williams is married to Bucks nursing alumna Yamila Williams (’09) and has four children.

The 96 students who completed the college’s associate degree nursing program are poised to become registered nurses upon completion of state licensing exams.

About Bucks County Community College

Founded in 1964, Bucks County Community College is a public, two-year institution that offers nearly 80 programs of study that lead to either an associate degree or certificate. The college serves nearly 10,000 credit-seeking students and more than 70,000 students in noncredit programs each year. More than 70 percent of Bucks graduates transfer to four-year schools, other students transfer before earning a degree, while others directly enter their chosen field. Classes are offered at campuses in Newtown, Perkasie, and Bristol, and online. For more information about Bucks, visit www.bucks.edu or call 215-968-8100.

Jean Dolan
Assistant Director, Public Relations
215-968-8094/8093