Soon-to-be graduates offer memories ahead of first in-person ceremony since 2019

By Anna-Grace Rowland

THE YORK College of Pennsylvania 2022 commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 14. This will be the first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019 and will take place under the tent on the lawn in front of Campbell Hall. YCP’s president is “committed to having an in-person commencement,” the office of Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith said last week.

The tent will open to guests at 8 a.m. and check-in for graduates will begin at 8:30 a.m. A continental breakfast will be available in Johnson Dining Hall for all graduates and guests.

The honorary degree recipient and speaker will be Joseph McGinty Nichol, known professionally as McG. An American director and producer. McG began his career in the music industry, producing albums and directing music videos. He gained popularity from producing “Charlie’s Angels,” which had the highest grossing opening weekend for films at the time. He has directed several movies since then, and owns his own production company called Wonderland Sound and Vision.

There will be nearly 700 graduating from York College in just a few short days. For those graduating, it has been a memorable four years.

Lauren Droscoski, a soon-to-be graduate, says the four years left her with plenty to think about. So many memories, “whether it be with my sorority sisters or eating dinner at the dining hall I will always remember the times I had here, The people I met here at York will be with me for the rest of my life. York really changed me into the person I was supposed to become and I’m so excited for my future.” She is graduating with a degree in human resources and a minor in sociology.

Another student who is graduating, Jahn Arias, says his memories of the past four years are bittersweat. “It’s been an amazing time and I’m glad to have met everyone that I have,” says Arias, who will be receiving a degree in integrated marketing communications. ”All the people and friends and professors I met have been great and really influenced me. The college shaped who I am as a person and I can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without many of the experiences and people that I met. I enjoyed it honestly and got why I needed out of it!”

Elena Galioto, another soon-to-be graduate, says her four years was a roller-coaster ride. “My college experience at YCP has drastically changed each semester. I was welcomed into so many great communities within Greek Life, Orientation, FYS, and within my major within my first year,” she says. “As I encountered COVID-19 my sophomore year, I really had a painful reality check, especially with so many of my friends living far away and with my mom working in a hospital. Both myself and my mom are also in the at-risk population with respiratory problems so we had no idea how COVID would affect us.

“As we came back and adjusted to different restrictions the past two years, I also had to adjust to my friends and I turning 21, getting internships, and so many opportunities at my feet,” says Galioto, who will be graduating with a degree in hospitality management.  “I was fortunate to not only have support within these communities I was involved in, but I was able to meet and grow close to so many new people through social media and virtual communication. With vaccines becoming available to myself and my close friends and family, I have been able to discover a new sense of normal and find so much comfort in being around the people in my life again. As I near graduation, I am looking forward to a career in a new state far from home, and I can’t wait to see what the world has for me.”

The graduating senior speaker will be Tiffany Nguyen, who entered in 2018 as a biology major. “Stepping into YCP my freshman year as a biology major, I always wanted to become a physician,” she says. “Four years later, I realized that my passion is also in research. The interactions and mentorships I received have led me to pursue a research internship at the National Institute of Health.”

A photo from the last in-person spring commencement at York College, in May 2019. (York College Facebook page)

Nguyen says that her college experience revolves around the concept in which one interaction leads to another, allowing many unknown doors to open and provide a pathway to where she is today.

“One interaction that I would always remember is with my research mentor Dr. Ronald Kaltreider, in which he told me that ‘failure is the key to success where each mistake teaches us something,’ she says. “This came as shock to me, but my time here at YCP made me realize that failure is not a weakness, but instead, a positive yet overlooked characteristic of life that inevitably plays a critically important part in any success. My mindset completely changed and I would always tell myself that ‘it might feel like a failure today, and it really does, but it is only going to stay a failure if I give up.’

“I want the students to know that a stumble, a failure, a rejection is not permanent; is not a reflection on us; our value; and our potential as a person. It is a reflection of where we are today and it’s just a marker, a symbol, an opportunity to improve ourselves, to try again, to try better, and to make our dreams a reality. Deep down, you know exactly what you’re capable of. You can get there. I got there because of the people I encountered during my four years at York College, and I know many can, too. Losing sight of this in our chaotic lives is normal. Yet it is a steady, grounding reminder of our true purpose in this life outside of any external success or achievement. It lives in the little moment of interconnectedness; a smile or helping hand, the echo of laughter, authenticity of being yourself even on the worst of days – it leaves an imprint that is delicate and usually unnoticed but strong enough to create a typhoon of beautifully positive impact.”

Anna-Grace Rowland is a senior majoring in integrated marketing.

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