Peirce College Celebrates 149th Commencement

President of the Urban Affairs Coalition to give keynote address as nearly 350 students, including inaugural class of Human Resource Management and Criminal Justice Studies students, graduate

Business Wire


This evening, Peirce College will celebrate its 149th Commencement ceremony at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. The College will celebrate the graduation of 323 students, including two mother-daughter pairs graduating together; two husband-wife pairs graduating together; and the inaugural class of Human Resource Management and Criminal Justice Studies graduates. Sharmain Matlock-Turner, president of the Urban Affairs Coalition, will offer the keynote address for the evening.

Natasha and Anthony Williams, who have been married nine years, will graduate with their bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration. The couple kept each other motivated as they pursued their degrees, turning their coursework into a friendly competition. Anthony, who is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, completed his classes online while deployed in Kuwait. “We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Peirce,” Natasha said. “We were able to take the work we did in our classes and apply it directly to our careers. We always felt supported, not only by each other, but also by our professors and advisors. Whenever things got difficult, someone at Peirce was always there to remind us that we could do this,” she continued.

Anthony and Natasha are currently pursuing management roles in their respective careers, and plan to enroll in Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management program this fall.

The 149th Commencement ceremony will also honor Raye and Shiela Goldsborough, a mother-daughter duo receiving their degrees together. Raye, an assistant vice president at Christina Trust in Wilmington, DE, originally attended Peirce in 1981 before beginning a family and putting her educational pursuits on hold. “I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take my career when I began at Peirce,” said Raye. “A few years ago, I saw an advertisement for Peirce, and knew it was time to go back. Not only to progress in my career, but also to fulfill a promise I made to myself and my parents,” Goldsborough continued.

“I’m really proud of my mom,” said Shiela Goldsborough. “It has been helpful that we’ve had the opportunity to attend Peirce together and bounce ideas off one another and help each other with our projects and homework. It was a really unique and wonderful experience.”

Raye benefited from taking many of her classes online. “Peirce College made it very easy for me to pursue my degree online. In fact, I don’t know that I would have been able to go back to school had online classes not been offered because they gave me the flexibility to complete my studies at my own pace.”

In addition to Peirce College’s many support systems and online course offerings, graduates of the class of 2014 also benefited from the personalized attention and support provided by professors. Ursula Days, a member of the first graduating class of the Human Resource Management program, attributes her academic success to the investment her professors made in her education, as well as their steadfast commitment to seeing her succeed at every step of the way. Upon graduation, Ursula plans to use her new degree to expand her career in the human resources field, which is expected to have faster-than-average growth in the Greater Philadelphia region as HR professionals continue to advance to more strategic roles in their organizations.

Similarly, in 2011, Peirce College introduced the Criminal Justice Studies associate degree program in anticipation of the industry experiencing an 11 percent growth in job opportunities by 2016. Norman Watford, one of Peirce’s first Criminal Justice Studies graduates, will receive his second of two degrees from Peirce this evening. Having completed a tour in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, Norman obtained an associate’s degree in General Studies from Peirce in 2013, before pursuing an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies. Norman directly credits the caliber of his professors at Peirce to his success in the program. He will also be awarded the Alumni Association Raymond L Palzer ’52 Academic Leadership Award at this evening’s Commencement ceremony.

“At Peirce, we strive to offer our students a robust education that prepares them for the evolving needs of employers in our regional economy. We began our Human Resource Management program and Criminal Justice Studies associate degree program in 2011 in response to the anticipated growth of these industries in the greater Philadelphia area,” said James J. Mergiotti, President & Chief Executive Officer of Peirce College. “We are incredibly proud of our 2014 graduating class, who serve as an inspiration to a wide range of students pursuing degrees at varying stages of life. Each of these students has prioritized their education and demonstrated an unwavering determination to achieving their educational dreams while acting as an inspiration to their children, grandchildren, families, communities, and co-workers. We applaud our graduates and celebrate with them today.”

The College has selected Kathlyn Cease as this year’s student commencement speaker. Cease currently serves as the Human Resources Coordinator for Youth Consultation Services in New Jersey, the largest behavioral health agency in the state and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration. While attending Peirce, Kathlyn received the WW Smith Award and has been distinguished on Peirce’s Dean’s and President’s Lists.

Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Peirce’s keynote speaker and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), will offer graduates encouragement and inspiration for the evening. Matlock-Turner serves as the first female president of the 44-year-old UAC, an organization that unites government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiatives to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues.

Renee Martin, a Business Administration major with a concentration in Entrepreneurship/Business Management and winner of the 2014 Peirce Idol competition, will sing the national anthem for this year’s graduates, family, and friends.

Peirce College’s 2014 graduating class is 73 percent female and comprised of a substantial working adult student body. 34 percent of its graduates range in ages from 31 to 40, 27 percent range from ages 22 to 30, and 24 percent range in ages from 41 to 50. In addition, 39 of Peirce’s graduates are 51 years old or older with three graduates over the age of 61. Peirce College’s 149th Commencement ceremony will take place in the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center at 6:45 p.m. this evening, June 9, 2014.

About Peirce College

Peirce College offers bachelor’s and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Legal Studies. It also offers a Master of Science in 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, 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). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits the College's Business Administration and Accounting programs; the Paralegal Studies program is approved by the American Bar Association; and the Health Information Technology program is accredited by 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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