Peirce Students Graduate Prepared for the Road Ahead

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Peirce Students Graduate Prepared for the Road Ahead

For Immediate Release

Philadelphia, June 1, 2009 - Peirce College will celebrate its 144th commencement, at the Kimmel Center on June 15, 2009, at 7 p.m. Nearly 500 students will graduate, most of which are between the ages of 25 and 50.

"Dr. Lendo is a visionary who has enabled Peirce to become a leading-edge institution with national and international reach for the working adult student," said Gregory West, Board Chair. "His legacy will live on through this scholarship and the students whose lives he has touched."

"We are very proud of our graduates," said Pat Rucker, Vice President, Academic Advancement and Chief Academic Officer. "They have shown great dedication in their quest for excellence and leave Peirce well prepared for today's complex world."

Many of the graduates report that they used their studies to change fields or earn a promotion while still in college.

Dr. Lendo is scheduled to retire on June 30. He is one of the longest-serving college presidents in the United States and leaves a legacy of transformation at Peirce.

"My studies at Peirce have given me transferable tools to navigate my career, my relationships and motherhood with a sense of empowerment," said Jacquelyn Ajose, the student speaker at graduation.

Ajose, an after-school program specialist, is launching a new career in Change Management and Organizational Development. Her goal is to help nonprofits make the tough decisions needed to sustain themselves through the recession.

Another example is Catherine Jelencovich, assistant to the president at Father Judge High School.

"My experience at Peirce College was one of the most rewarding I have had, Jelencovich said. "I am not exaggerating when I say this experience changed my life."

Jelencovich returned to college after a 25 year hiatus, studying in a satellite or "cluster" program at Father Judge. Completing a bachelor's degree in business, she won a promotion to the school's development department.

According to Dr. Rucker, these stories are emblematic of the Peirce student population. "Our students tend to be working adults who have made the commitment to advancing their lives and careers," Dr. Rucker said. "They come in with the determination to succeed and use their studies to make tangible improvements at work."

WPVI Anchor and journalism pioneer Lisa Thomas-Laury will provide the commencement ceremony's keynote address. "Ms. Laury has been a fixture in Philadelphia news for more than three decades," Rucker said. "She is a trailblazer, who truly embodies a commitment to the community."

Ms. Thomas-Laury joined WPVI on February 20, 1978, where she has served as a co-anchor and reporter. In 1983, she became co-anchor of the 5 p.m. weekday edition of Action News, and a substitute anchor for Jim Gardner at 6 and 11 p.m. She has also hosted WPVI's award-winning monthly Public Affairs program, "Fast Forward," and its "Children First" series.

This Commencement will be the last for Peirce President Arthur J. Lendo, who retires on June 30. Dr. Lendo has held the post for 18 years, making him one of the longest-serving college presidents in the United States.

Succeeding him will be James J. Mergiotti. Currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Offer, Mergiotti was named to the position in February and assumes the presidency on July 1, 2009.

Peirce College was founded in 1865 as The Peirce Union Business College of Philadelphia and is one of the oldest business colleges in the United States. It was established to provide returning Civil War veterans with the business acumen and skills to reap the economic benefits of the burgeoning industrial revolution. In the same spirit, Peirce welcomes today's women and men to its programs so that they may effectively compete in the 21st century global economy.

Peirce College offers bachelor's and associate degree programs in Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and Paralegal Studies. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104 (phone: 267-284-5000). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits the College's business program and the Paralegal Studies program is approved by the American Bar Association. For more information about Peirce College, call 1.888.467.3472, or visit

Contact: Jonathan Morein
215-565-5377 (cell)