Gannon’s newest alumni earned their degrees during the University’s annual Winter Commencement exercises.

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., awarded 212 degrees during the ceremony, held in Hammermill Center. He congratulated the graduates and reminded them that the best is yet to come.

“You are about to transition from a period of preparation and anticipation, where the focus has been on the next project and the next semester, to a new part of life’s journey where the path has been prepared for you and, with continued faith and commitment, terrific things are surely awaiting you,” Dr. Taylor said. “This relationship between you and Gannon is one that never ends. Education is a life-long gift. Not one given, but earned, and the type of gift that is a living gift — like a puppy, or a plant, or your faith — needing to be nourished and nurtured to ensure it continues to grow.”

The graduates included five doctoral degree recipients, 123 receiving master’s degrees, 81 receiving bachelor’s degrees, and three receiving associate’s degrees. Three students  graduated summa cum laude, two magna cum laude, seven cum laude, and one with academic honors.

In addition, the graduates were representative of six countries in addition to the United States: Bahamas, Canada, China, Rwanda, India, and Saudi Arabia.

David W. Grzelak, a 1976 graduate of Gannon’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. He also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Grzelak has had a long and successful career in business. In 2012, he was named chairman of the board of Komatsu America Corp., a subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., a world leader in the manufacture of construction, mining, and compact construction equipment. Previously, in his 10 years as chairman/CEO of Komatsu America, he managed the company’s multi-billion dollar North American operations and its worldwide electric mining trucks business.

In addition, Grzelak is a past recipient of Gannon’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

“We wish for you the sort of success that our speaker today, David Grzelak, has had,” Dr. Taylor said. “He made the most of his education and is, as you will be, a shining example of the great things that come from hard work and ownership of a Gannon degree. Graduates, congratulations on your outstanding accomplishment.

“You have been the Gannon that reached out to the community and helped our neighbors in need,” Dr. Taylor added. “You have been the one we cheered for and told the exciting success stories about. You have been the one we proudly brag about for being the exceptional clinician and kind teacher and astute business analyst and creative engineer and problem solving scientist and engaging writer, thinker, researcher, compassionate leader. You have been Gannon to so many during your time here. You will be Gannon, and represent Gannon to so many, every day. And, Gannon will be in you forever more. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of your day and to see your smiles as you make this next transition in life.”

This article was originally published on Dec. 10, 2012 on