Pitt-Johnstown Graduates Class of 2018


posted April 28, 2018

Pitt-Johnstown marked its 46th Commencement ceremony on April 28, 2018.

The event honored 575 graduates who completed requirements for Bachelor Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Associate of Science degrees. An estimated 405 seniors processed in the ceremony.

 Spectar and Fihn

Pitt-Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar with
2018 Commencement guest speaker and
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ms. Beatrice Fihn.

2018 Commencement Flickr album >

Ms. Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was the honorary speaker.

The commencement ceremony was held in the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center. 

John M. McGrath, PhD, Business & Enterprise, served as the procession Grand Marshal. He was joined by Faculty Marshals: Elizabeth Katrancha, PhD, Nursing and Health Sciences; Bethany McConnell, PhD, Education; Stanley Pisarski, MS, Engineering and Computer Science; Katherine Reist, PhD, Social Sciences; Bruce Robart, PhD, Natural Sciences; and John Teacher, MFA, Humanities.

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar congratulated the graduating class, and their families, during his remarks. 

The National Anthem was led by Micaela Pupek, Class of 2018, and the Commencement Address was given by Joseph Evanko, Class of 2018 and Student Government Association Past President.

Dr. Spectar presented Ms. Fihn with the President’s Medal of Distinctive Excellence, the highest honor that the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown bestows.

The award recognizes exceptional persons for their exemplary contributions toward making our world a better place. 

Honorees are chosen on wide range of criteria including their social, cultural and humanitarian contributions, leadership in their professions as well as service to the community of humankind. Individuals receiving this prestigious honor make a positive difference in our world, their actions inspire and empower others to achieve their fullest potential; they contribute to human progress and enlightenment.

In 2017, Ms. Fihn accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and delivered the Nobel Laureate lecture in Oslo on behalf of the campaign, along with Hiroshima bombing survivor, Setsuko Thurlow.

Ms. Fihn has led ICAN since 2013, and has worked to mobilize civil society throughout the development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Her strong leadership and unique ability to build unlikely coalitions was a vital factor in the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

She holds a Masters in Law from the University of London and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Stockholm University. Ms. Fihn was recently listed as one of the 50 innovators who changed the global landscape in 2017 by Bloomberg Media.

Ms. Fihn had a message about power, and the importance of its proper application, for the graduates and their families.

"Power can be good," she said. "Don't be ashamed of your standing. Use it to gain power and use that power to help others," she said, adding that the Class of 2018 is, "well-prepared and powerful."

During his remarks, Dr. Spectar emphasized the University's preparation of its students for the real world. 

"Every day, and every moment, as a graduate of this University, remember that you can make a difference," he said.


Scenes from Pitt-Johnstown's 2018 Commencement.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.