HopeCAT director to speak at Penn State Shenango commencement ceremony

SHARON, Pa. — Penn State Shenango will hold its fall 2015 commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, in the Shenango campus auditorium with a reception immediately following. Jo Anne Carrick, campus director, will confer baccalaureate and associate degrees on 58 graduating students.

The ceremony will open with the academic processional played by pianist Liz Howe, followed by the national anthem sung by Penn State Shenango staff member Tony Paglia. 

Steven Brewer, assistant professor of administration of justice and this year’s faculty marshal, will then welcome graduates, family members, and guests to the fall commencement ceremony.

This year, Penn State Shenango will welcome Tom Roberts, executive director of the Hope Center for Arts & Technology (HopeCAT), as its guest speaker. Roberts is a Penn State alumnus holding a bachelor of arts in industrial and labor relations. He earned his master of business administration degree from Temple University.

Prior to joining HopeCAT, Roberts was a director at Sharon Regional Health System working with the CEO and assistant CEO to recruit physicians and to support the development of the strategic plan. Before joining the hospital, he was the general manager for Cottage Gardens Inc., but his professional roots started in manufacturing, where he began as a temporary worker and worked his way up to vice president of U.S. retail sales for MAAX Inc., a multinational producer of kitchen and bath products.

After relocating to Hermitage in 2004, Roberts had a strong desire to minimize travel and transitioned to working with community based, nonprofit organizations. Locally, he’s served on the boards of the Prince of Peace Center, YMCA, and Buhl Park Corporation. Outside of work and community service, Roberts sings with the Shenango Valley Chorale, performs in multiple community theater productions, and enjoys landscaping projects with his wife, Ryen. He is also a proud member of the Penn State Blue Band, performing during Homecoming annually at Beaver Stadium.

This year’s graduating student address will be given by Linda W. Byler, who is graduating from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Byler has been a 4.0 student throughout her time at Penn State Shenango, receiving several scholarships and awards, including the Penn State Alumni Association Scholarship, the Osher Re-entry Scholarship, the Chadderton Scholarship, and the Penn State Academic Grant.

During her senior year, Byler completed her internship with Penn Northwest Development Corporation in Mercer, where she conducted research crossing the span of 30 years of the economy base of Mercer County. Following intense data collecting and analyzing, she presented the statistics in a formal presentation to the CEO and prepared the report to be shared with representatives from financial analysis and insurance companies who represent business stake holders.

In addition to her studies, Byler was a personal assistant/payroll manager for J & B Cattle Company in Greenville for many years. She is currently working as an accountant for First National Bank in Hermitage.

The commencement ceremony will conclude with the induction of the 2015 Penn State graduates into the Penn State Shenango Alumni Society by Nicki Biles, president of the Penn State Shenango Alumni Society.

For more information about this year’s graduation ceremony, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 724-983-2856.