President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson conferred degrees to 882 Clarion University graduates in two ceremonies May 7 in Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
Degrees from the College of Business Administration and Information Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences were presented at the 10 a.m. ceremony; degrees from the College of Education, Health and Human Services were presented at the 2 p.m. ceremony. The degrees include 133 associate, 511 bachelor's, 233 graduate, and five doctorate.
Berit I. Haahr, of Bryn Mawr, a degree candidate for a Master of Science in Library Science, addressed her classmates during the morning ceremony.
"I had never set foot on campus before yesterday afternoon," said Haahr, who completed her degree online. "I feel, however, as though I'm part of this community, and it's a testament to the amazing professors, staff and students that you can all make a virtual graduate student feel courageous and confident."
A teacher with 20 years of experience, Haahr currently teaches elementary school reading, which, she said, was made more difficult during the pandemic.
"Teaching reading and writing to young children virtually is not ideal," she said. Her Clarion coursework changed that. "I didn't just learn about library history and technology; I learned how to teach and build a community when I wasn't in the same room as my students."
Haahr described her field of library science as being about equity and universal access.
"People need reliable, relevant, accurate information, and they need to find it readily. It's about pluralism, not paternalism," she said.
Macy T. McCarthy, of Benton, degree candidate for a Bachelor of Science in Education, early childhood/special education, addressed the 2 p.m. graduates.
"'Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is only potential. Action is power,'" McCarthy said, quoting author Tony Robbins.
"Everything that we have learned during our post-secondary careers means nothing unless we use it to take action in some way," she said.
In her teaching career, McCarthy said she wants to provide her students with a holistic education that addresses academic needs, but also their emotional, social and ethical needs.
"The moments, actions and words that I share with my students are what will shape the values they carry out into the world," she said.
She challenged her fellow graduates: "Think about who you want to be and how you will use what you have learned to bring the change in the world that you wish to see. Stepping off this stage today is not the end; it is only the beginning.
Lauren Slaugenhaupt, of Knox, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history at the 10 a.m. ceremony, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at both ceremonies.