Fall 2023 Commencement Set for Dec. 16

KU maroon diploma covers

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Nearly 390 students will be awarded degrees during Kutztown University's fall commencement ceremony 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, O'Pake Fieldhouse. Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president, and Dr. Lorin Basden Arnold, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will preside.

The ceremony celebrates undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree recipients and will feature two student speakers and a faculty speaker. Kaitlyn Campbell, elementary education, will serve as the graduate student speaker; Rory Misko, secondary and special education, will serve as the undergraduate student speaker; Dr. James D. Jackson, associate professor of psychology, will serve as the faculty speaker.

An honorary doctorate, Doctor of Laws, will be conferred upon Mark R. Weaver, Esq. ’83 ’85M. Learn more about Weaver.

Kutztown University will provide complete coverage, including live video, photos and more, of its commencement ceremonies. A special thank you to students and professors from the Department of Cinema, Television and Media Production for teaming with the Offices of University Relations to provide Saturday's live coverage. Further information on commencement coverage can be found on the commencement coverage website.

Graduate Speaker

Kaitlyn Campbell of Schwenksville, Pa., graduates with a Master of Education Pre-K-4 with certification. She earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from West Chester University in 2021.

During her time at KU, Campbell served as a dedicated special education paraprofessional, making significant contributions to co-taught classrooms on a one-on-one basis. Her responsibilities extended to crafting tailored content to meet the unique needs of students, employing a Person-Centered Approach (PCA) to ensure a personalized and effective educational experience. Working seamlessly with students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, Campbell strived to foster an inclusive environment that embraced diversity and individual learning styles. Additionally, she took charge of developing comprehensive schedules and setting achievable daily, weekly and monthly goals, reflecting her commitment to creating a supportive and structured learning environment for all students under her care.

Campbell believes her ordinary journey as a hardworking student who faced challenges resonates with most of the student body. By sharing a philosophy that dreams are often picked up rather than predestined, she hopes to inspire fellow graduates to see themselves in the ordinary, yet determined pursuit of their goals.

Undergraduate Speaker

Rory Misko of Carbondale, Pa., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in education in both secondary and special education, including minors in women, gender and sexuality studies and political science.

While at KU, Misko served as an intern in the Office of Disability Service’s MyPlace Program, working with KU students on the autism spectrum to help them successfully transition to college and prepare for post-college life. Additionally, she worked to care for and mentor young children in a YCARE program, assisting in planning and executing academically and socially beneficial programming.

Misko served as a desk receptionist and community assistant with Housing and Residence Life. She worked to create a welcoming community for KU students by hosting events and enforcing KU policy. She was the president of the Golden Bear Dance Company, recruitment chair and secretary of the Performing Dance Portmanteau and treasurer of Kappa Delta Pi sorority.

Following her graduation, Misko has her sights set on a master's degree in business and marketing, with a keen interest in contributing her expertise to the marketing teams of post-secondary institutions. Simultaneously, during her master's program, she will undertake the role of an entry-level marketing coordinator at Marywood University, where she will specialize in enhancing their dining services.

Faculty Speaker

Dr. James Jackson, associate professor of psychology, has an award-winning tenure in his 16 years at KU. He is the co-director of the Achievement Initiative for Male Success program, and a faculty and spiritual advisor for several student organizations. He serves on the faculty committee for the Fredrick Douglass Institute and is the vice president of the Black Faculty Caucus.

Jackson is a retired pastor of 20 years, most recently the senior pastor of Goodwin Memorial Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Pa., and is currently the city chaplain for the Harrisburg City Police Department. He serves as an adjunct professor at Moravian University, a position he also held at Moravian Theological Seminary and Muhlenberg College.

He is a co-author of two psychology textbooks entitled, “Understanding Psychology,” and “Charting the Human Development: A Life-Span Perspective.” While at KU, Jackson has been bestowed upon the Excellence in Service to Students Award by the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Outstanding Campus-Wide Inclusive Award from the KU Multicultural Center.

Jackson received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He did his graduate work at the University of Kansas, where he received his master’s and Ph.D. in cognitive experimental psychology with a concentration in gerontology. He later earned a Master of Arts in theological studies from Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pa.

For more information, visit https://www.kutztown.edu/events/commencement.html.