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Peirce College to Award First Bachelor's Degrees to Year Up Greater Philadelphia Alumni


Peirce College to Award First Bachelor's Degrees to Year Up Greater Philadelphia Alumni

Three hundred working adults make up Class of 2017

PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 2017 — Four years following the 2013 launch of Year Up Greater Philadelphia at Peirce College, its first alumni are set to receive their bachelor’s degrees on June 8.

Four Philadelphia residents and Year Up graduates, Tah Adin (Information Technology), Andre Brown (Business Administration), Shakira Gregg (Business Administration) and Bene’t Morando (Information Technology), will be among the 300 members of the Peirce Class of 2017. 

Offered at no cost to urban young adults, Year Up provides six months of workforce training and a paid six-month internship at a Fortune 500 company, all while students are enrolled in Peirce classes. 

Together, Year Up and Peirce provided the right support and structure for these students to succeed in their academic endeavors. 

Brown had started his academic career at another institution, but after three semesters, realized he wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared for a traditional college setting. But just months after dropping out, he learned of Year Up and Peirce and thought it would provide the right structure for him to succeed. 

He was correct. Brown has thrived under the responsibility of working during the day and taking classes at night. 

He interned at JPMorgan Chase and continued to work there throughout his college career as a project manager for software development. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree, Chase offered Brown a two-year contract as a business analyst in its Technology Analyst Program.

“If you would have told me where I’d be today when I first dropped out of school, it would have blown my mind,” Brown said. 

Year Up is just one example of the support that Peirce College provides to working adult students of all ages. But its students also rely heavily on the support of their families, inspiring their children, or even their parents, to follow in their footsteps. 

And, sometimes, they take the journey together. 

Morando, another Year Up alum, will be graduating with her father, Anthony Young, who has earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies. 

Student speaker Renee Martin and her daughters, Brenda Eldridge and Ramona Watson, will also graduate as a family from Peirce this year, as will the husband-and-wife team of Melissa and Brian Phillips. 

Morando said it was the combined support of her father; her mother, Emma Morando-Young, who graduated from Peirce last year; Year Up; and Peirce that helped her complete her degree and earn a full-time position in March at JPMorgan Chase, where she interned during Year Up, as a Tech Ops Analyst. Together, her support system helped her battle her procrastination and instilled time management skills. She is currently applying to Peirce’s graduate program. 

“The families who earn their degrees together serve as great examples of the dedication and community support needed for working adults to reach this milestone,” said Peirce College President & CEO James. J. Mergiotti. 

“All of the working adults who will cross the stage this year have each faced their own set of unique challenges,” Mergiotti continued. “They have worked hard to balance their work, home and community responsibilities to earn a degree that will help them make a better life for themselves and their families and allow them to be a role model for the next generation.”

Approximately 70 percent of the graduates are over the age of 30. They come from 13 states as far away as California. Six are international students, all of whom currently reside in Pennsylvania. Nearly 70 percent of the class is female and 61 percent identify as Black or African-American. 

In total, Peirce will award 17 master’s degrees, 180 bachelor’s degrees, 95 associate degrees and 10 certificates. 

Monica Malpass, co-anchor of 6abc Action News at 5 p.m., will deliver the commencement speech at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia.


About Peirce College

Founded in 1865, Peirce College has been providing working adults with affordable education, flexible classes and personalized support for more than 150 years. Peirce offers bachelor and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and Legal Studies and Master of Science degrees in Healthcare Administration and Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults through both online and on-campus education. In 2015, Peirce took life-friendly learning and degree attainment to the next level with the creation of Peirce Fit™, a revolutionary learning format that allows students to choose each week whether to attend class in person or online. Through competency-based education in Peirce’s IT program, students may also choose a faster, more affordable path to a degree. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St. Philadelphia, PA 19104 (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 Visit Peirce’s blog, Peirce Connections, at Become a fan of Peirce College on Facebook. Follow @PeirceCollege on Twitter. View the Peirce College YouTube Channel.

About Year Up

Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college-level coursework. Its holistic approach focuses on students' professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 3,600 students annually across 24 campuses in Arizona, Baltimore, Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greater Atlanta, Greater Boston, Greater Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, National Capital Region, New York City, Providence, Puget Sound, South Florida and Wilmington.

To learn more, visit, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter: @YearUp


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