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Peirce College to Award College Degrees to Two Married Couples at Tonight's Commencement Ceremony


Peirce College to Award College Degrees to Two Married Couples at Tonight's Commencement Ceremony

PHILADELPHIA, June 13, 2016 -- The Class of 2016 marks an amazing achievement tonight at Peirce College’s 151st Commencement Ceremony, but for some graduates, the occasion is extra special.

Among the 305 working adults graduating are: two husband-wife pairs; the first two Year Up program graduates; and the inaugural classes of the Integrated Leadership, Legal Studies in Business, Technology Management, and Medical Coding programs.

Tamron Hall, co-host of NBC News’ TODAY and anchor of MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall, will deliver the commencement speech.

Emma Morando-Young will receive a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies and her husband, Anthony Young, a 21-year Army veteran, will earn his associate degree in Criminal Justice Studies. Stefan and Mariya Georgiev, will receive a master’s in Organizational Leadership & Management and a bachelor’s in Integrated Leadership, respectively.

After raising her family and receiving her GED at the age of 26, Morando-Young decided to return to school to finally get her college degree. After earning her associate degree in Paralegal Studies, she wanted to continue on for her bachelor’s. This time, however, she wouldn't be the only one going back.

“In 2013, I began another education journey at Peirce, but this time I wasn't alone,” Emma explained. “This time I was joined by my husband Anthony and daughter Bene’t. We decided to take on our education as a family.”

At tonight’s Commencement exercises Emma and Anthony will graduate together, and Anthony and Bene’t are on track to both graduate with bachelor’s degrees next year.

“My husband and I are marking this down on a list of our marriage achievements,” said Morando-Young. “I want this to show my children that it is never too late to reach your goals."

The second married couple, Stefan and Mariya Georgiev, has managed to balance extraordinary life changes while completing their studies. Since beginning their degree programs, the pair, who were both born in Bulgaria but met in Philadelphia, have gotten married and expanded their family with the birth of their son George in 2015. Mariya plans to continue her studies in the College’s new Master of Science in Healthcare Administration program.

Also graduating from Peirce tonight are the first Peirce College graduates to have completed the Year Up Professional Training Corps program that connects urban young adults with colleges and employers. Just two years after the launch of the Year Up program at Peirce, Amika Miller, 25, North Philadelphia, and Elesha Merritt, 26, Martinsburg, West Virginia, will each graduate with an associate degree in Criminal Justice Studies. Miller will be the first person in her family to earn a college degree and has already started to pursue her bachelor's degree at Peirce.

“The most important thing I learned about myself through Year Up is that, when I put my mind to a goal, I can achieve it,” she said. “With the confidence I received from Year Up and the support I received from Peirce College, I have learned that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to."

Through Year Up and Peirce, both graduates believe they received the professional development, experience and education they need to pursue new opportunities in the workforce.

“At Peirce, we strive to offer our students a robust education that prepares them for the evolving needs of employers in our regional economy,” said James J. Mergiotti, president and CEO. “All of our graduates have taken an important step in furthering themselves and their prospects for the future. I am incredibly proud of our 2016 graduating class, who serve as an inspiration to a wide range of students pursuing degrees at varying stages of life. I hold them in my highest regard."

At tonight’s ceremony, 305 students from 14 states will graduate from Peirce College with the knowledge and skills that will help them to improve their place in the workforce. The graduates range in age from 21-year-olds Anderson Johnson and Kadijah Mack, to 67-year-old Christine Clark-Robinson. More than 73 percent of the class is over the age of 30.

The graduates include 24 recipients of a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management, Peirce’s first master’s degree program. Additionally, Peirce will award 169 bachelor’s degrees, 107 associate degrees and eight certificates.

The Class of 2016 graduates during an era of progress and innovation at Peirce. In the past year, the College launched Peirce Fit™, which allows students to choose week-to-week to attend class in person or online. Peirce Fit will roll out curriculum-wide this fall. In September, Peirce will welcome the first students into its new Master of Science in Healthcare Administration program. Additionally, the College will launch its first Competency-Based Education program in Information Technology. Students can easily earn credits by proving their proficiency in certain skills and then focus their education solely on the areas they still need to learn, resulting in a faster and less expensive path to degree completion.

Commencement will be held tonight, June 13, at 6:45 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia.

About Peirce College
In 2015, Peirce College celebrates 150 years dedicated to providing higher education to working adults. In celebration of this momentous occasion, Peirce will host a year-long series of events surrounding the theme, "Many Years, One Purpose." Peirce College offers bachelor's and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and Legal Studies and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in thee hart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults, many of whom work full time and are raising families. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104 (phone: 267-284-5000). Additionally select programs are accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs the American Bar Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

For more information about Peirce College, call 888.467.3472 or visit

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