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Peirce College Class of 2015 Includes First Master's Degree Graduates


Peirce College Class of 2015 Includes First Master's Degree Graduates

More than 300 students will receive undergraduate degrees, including a mother and her two daughters, at 150th anniversary commencement ceremony.

PHILADELPHIA, June 10, 2015 -- The first-ever recipients of a Peirce College master’s degree will cross the stage at the 150-year-old Philadelphia institution’s commencement ceremony June 11.

Three students will receive a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management, a program that is designed to provide students the skills needed to become a successful leader in today’s workplace.

“The Class of 2015 marks a significant milestone for Peirce College,” said President and CEO James J. Mergiotti. “Over the past century-and-a-half, our institution has evolved from a business school to a junior college to a four-year college and now to a graduate degree granting institution. We established our first master’s program in 2013 to align with the needs of the Philadelphia marketplace and have received a tremendous response from students and employers. I am proud of our first cohort of graduates from this program, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they have on the city’s workforce in the years ahead.”

The Class of 2015 also includes the College’s first bachelor’s degree graduates from the Criminal Justice Studies and Health Information Administration programs.

These graduates will be joined by approximately 308 students who have earned a bachelor’s or an associate degree in one of Peirce’s other undergraduate programs in the areas of business, information technology, healthcare and legal studies.

The Class of 2015 comes from 14 states and four foreign countries. Their ages range from 21 to 75. Twenty-five graduates are active duty military or veterans.

For three of these graduates, commencement will be a family affair.

Ramona Watson, 47, of Philadelphia, will be celebrating the completion of her education with her two daughters, Renee Martin, 29, and Brenda Eldridge, 27, both of Philadelphia. Martin and Watson are graduating with associate degrees in business administration, while Eldridge earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

Watson, who has worked at the Philadelphia Water Department since she was 19, knew that she needed a degree to advance in her career. She enrolled at Peirce -- taking advantage of the 25 percent discount for City of Philadelphia employees, their spouses and their children -- and encouraged her daughters to do the same.

Over the past two years, they have learned how to motivate each other and have shared several of the same classes. All three women have already started classes at Peirce toward their bachelor’s degrees.

“We thought about taking a break,” Martin said. “But we know we have to just keep going and finish.”

When Watson graduated from Bartram Motivation Center in 1987, she wasn’t able to participate in her graduation ceremony. So when she walks across the stage at the Kimmel Center on June 11th, with her daughters by her side, it will be an extra special moment. “I just love that we’re taking this journey together.”

The Peirce College Class of 2015 will hear from commencement speaker Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” and Mayor Michael A. Nutter will present a proclamation that recognizes Peirce’s 150 years of service to the City of Philadelphia.

“Peirce College combines personal and professional advancement with higher education, encouraging and preparing its students to find success in the working world. Peirce’s long-standing commitment to improving the lives of its students has truly had a tremendous impact on our great city and the greater Philadelphia region,” said Mayor Nutter. “I want to congratulate the class of 2015 on their accomplishments and commend Peirce College on 150 years of providing quality higher education opportunities.”

Matthews agreed. “The students of Peirce College epitomize the hard work it takes to achieve the American dream,” Matthews said. “I am honored to be there as they turn this page in their lives, and I hope to provide them with some words of inspiration as they begin to reap the benefits of their education.”

The ceremony begins on Thursday, June 11, at 6:45 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad St.

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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