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KU Graduates More Than 600 at Winter Commencement

December 12, 2013

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Kutztown University of Pennsylvania will hold its fall commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 14 in the O'Pake Fieldhouse on-campus. More than 600 baccalaureate and master's degree candidates are expected to participate.

University president Dr. F. Javier Cevallos will preside at the ceremony. In keeping with tradition, a member of the KU faculty, Dr. Thomas Betts, will address the graduates. The speaker is selected based on nominations submitted by the senior class.

Graduate student remarks will be provided by Melissa Larrisey, who will receive a Master of Education in reading and certification as a reading specialist. Undergraduate remarks will be provided by Evan Krum, who will earn a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a minor in public relations.

At the ceremony, KU alumni Kermit '81 and Lisa Oswald '82 will receive honorary doctor of laws degrees in recognition of their distinguished careers in the jewelry design industry, and for inspiring and developing new generations of entrepreneurs.

The commencement ceremony will be broadcast through, an interactive broadcast platform, enabling the families and friends of the more than 600 graduates to view the ceremony live, online, from the Michael O'Pake Fieldhouse on the KU campus. A link to the broadcast is posted on the KU homepage, at Access to the video is free and available around the world.

Melissa A. Larrisey is graduating with a Master of Education in reading and certification as a reading specialist. In 2010, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in education from KU. As an undergraduate student, Ms. Larrisey was the recipient of the College of Education's Faculty Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence, and was inducted into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the oldest, largest, and most selective honor societies.


During her graduate studies, she worked full-time as a classroom teacher at Saint Cecilia School, in Philadelphia, Pa., and served as the School Climate and Organization chairperson for the school's Middle States Accreditation self-study; as a crisis management planning team member; grade level coordinator; and distributed leadership teacher leader.


She has held the position of vice president for the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Epsilon Zeta chapter, and participated in the University of Pennsylvania's Distributed Leadership Initiative, as a teacher leader team member. Ms. Larrisey also served as a fundraising chairperson and executive director for 'Up 'til Dawn,' a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital initiative. In summer 2011 she attended the Connelly Foundation PACT Summer Technology Academy, an advanced faculty enrichment course, and this year attended the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Ms. Larrisey is also a member of the International Reading Association.


Evan Krum is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a minor in public relations. During his time at KU he has served as Avalanche, the university's mascot, and volunteered with KU's Community Outreach Program and as a disaster relief responder and emergency shelter supervisor for the American Red Cross.


Previously, he served as a student representative during State Congressional meetings at Lehigh Carbon Community College, was an on-air radio personality for the WXLV radio station and in 2010 was the Chesapeake Utilities Corporation scholarship recipient.


In summer 2013, Mr. Krum obtained an internship position with the Downtown Bethlehem Association, where he wrote bi-weekly newsletters promoting events and local businesses, marketed and advertised events through social media and assessed the needs of business owners. In addition, during his academic career he maintained part-time employment as a sales associate for Wegmans Food Markets and as a stock clerk and customer service representative for Weis Markets.


Following graduation, Mr. Krum hopes to join the United States Coast Guard.


Dr. Thomas Betts, professor of chemistry, has been teaching at Kutztown University for more than 20 years. Dr. Betts has taught a diverse array of chemistry courses at KU and has also served as an instructor at Muhlenberg College, the State University of New York at Buffalo and for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement Workshop.


Dr. Betts has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including three KU Research Committee Grants, a PASSHE Faculty Professional Development grant, two NSF grants and the NSF Macro-Research Opportunity Award. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Chemical Education, Analytical Chemistry, the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A, the NSF MRI Grant and the International Scholarly Research Network, among others.


Dr. Betts is also active in pursuing scholarly activities outside of teaching; he frequently attends and presents at national conferences and has published research in top ranking journals, including the Journal of the American Chemistry Society and Analytical Chemistry.