More Than 1,400 Degrees and Certificates to Be Awarded at 2017 Commencement Ceremony at Villanova University
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • May 10, 2017)—More than 1,400 degrees and certificates will be conferred to students at Delaware County Community College’s Commencement at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 18 at The Pavilion at Villanova University. This year’s Commencement ceremony comes at a very special time for Delaware County Community College because the College is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
Some of the graduates in the Class of 2017 include:
Mac Donald Taylor Jr. – a self-described ex-offender who with the College’s help became an Achieving the Dream (AtD) 2017 DREAM national scholar, Taylor graduates with an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies. A native of Philadelphia who now lives in Upper Darby, Taylor, received the AtD honor earlier this year, and received an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco to speak at AtD’s DREAM Scholars conference. Taylor speaks humbly about his incarceration for mortgage fraud in 2006 and his redemption through hard work and faith. He is the president of the College’s Paralegal Studies Club, a peer mentor, a husband and father of four children who says he was determined not to let his past mistakes define his future. Now, he advocates on behalf of ex-offenders. “I am passionate about working to ensure equality and fairness across all ethnicities, religious and social economic backgrounds, with a focus on reaching prisoners, preparing them to re-enter society and their families.”
Colleen McCloskey – an evening student at the College for nearly a decade, McCloskey of Broomall, graduates with honors with an Associate in Applied Science in Business. She won first place at the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic Angel Capital Expo at Drexel University last year for her small business, Elite Pureed Meals, LLC. Elite provides people who have swallowing difficulties, such as Alzheimer’s patients, with pureed meals, such as steak, chicken and beef stew that look, smell and taste like the real thing. The Keiretsu Forum win entitled McCloskey to $25,000 in professional services from Keiretsu investors and came on the heels of her winning $4,000, first place and grand prize at West Chester University’s Annual Business Idea Competition—a victory which ensured her the invite to the prestigious Keiretsu Forum. McCloskey also recently received the WomenCare Flame of Inspiration Award from The Center Foundation, a Media-based, nonprofit that provides mentoring, and she recently received an award from SCORE, a nonprofit that provides mentors to small business owners. McCloskey’s success is to be all the more admired because she has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her disabilities are one of the reasons she has taken only one business class a semester for the last nearly 10 years at the College. She is a caregiver at two residential homes, cleans commercial office buildings and raised her 20-year-old daughter as a single parent. View a video about McCloskey at https://vimeo.com/214373822.
Gina DiLuzio – among 49 community college students statewide named to the All-Pennsylvania Academic team, DiLuzio of Ridley Park was selected to be the student speaker for the 2017 Commencement. DiLuzio has triumphed in spite of having Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a rare neurological disorder that causes chronic pain in the hands, arms and other parts of the body. In high school, she was confined to a wheel chair. She has had several surgeries and long stays in the hospital. After her kidneys failed in 2014, she was put on a list for a kidney transplant and she receives regular treatments for her kidney failure. DiLuzio has risen above her illness. As an All-PA student, she can attend any one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities tuition free for up to two years. All-PA students must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average and must have completed at least 36 college-level credits. DiLuzio has a 4.0 GPA and graduates with an Associate in Science in Psychology. Among other things, DiLuzio is president of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter; vice president of buildOn, an international non-profit group that builds schools in poor countries around the world; a mentor with the United Network for Organ Donation, a private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system; a College tutor; and a student ambassador helping other students become familiar with the College. DiLuzio also works two part-time jobs. “I’ve learned throughout my life that your future can change in a blink of an eye. However, I promised myself to push through my illness,” DiLuzio says. “I want to help others cope with neurological conditions. I refuse to let a diagnosis hold me back, and I want others to have the same confidence.”
Scott Duffy – is one of two students at the College recognized by the international Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges as All-Pennsylvania scholars this year. The other student was Gina DiLuzio (see above). Duffy of Collingdale also has the added distinction of being one of only 20 students nationally named to the prestigious All-USA Community College Academic Team, a recognition which came with a $5,000 scholarship. In addition, he was named a 2017 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar, which came with a $2,000 stipend. Duffy, who graduates with an Associate in Science in Computer Science, has a learning disability, a visual tracking disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, a brain and behavior disorder which causes severe anxiety. But Duffy has conquered his disabilities and has sought to help others. “After all, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my time at community college is that it is my job to positively impact as many people as possible,” he says. A black belt in karate, Duffy is vice president of fundraising for the College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and he is a member of the College’s Women in STEM club, which seeks to inform and advocate for women entering the careers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He also is a peer mentor. Following in her son’s footsteps, Duffy’s mother, Amy, now attends the College and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
Raechel Mykytiuk – each year the College recognizes a student for their service and leadership to the College and/or community and their academic achievement. Nominations for the Outstanding Student Award come from faculty and staff, and this year one nomination stood out: Raechel Mykytiuk of West Chester in Chester County. Mykytiuk has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and graduates with an Associate in Science in Business Administration. She works two part-time jobs, and will step into a full-time sales role with Penn Woods Winery in Chadds Ford once her winemaking training is complete. This year, Mykytiuk won a scholarship to attend the Phi Theta Kappa honor society International Scholar Laureate Program Business and Entrepreneurship Delegation in Australia in late May/early June. She plans to marry later this year, after she returns from Australia. In addition, Mykytiuk co-created and launched “Barrage Battle,” a fantasy themed board game, now available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/MK-Games-LLC-Barrage-Battle/dp/B01J4PD64S). On campus, Mykytiuk is president of the College’s student-run Business Society; public relations officer for the Student Government Association; and vice president of scholarship for the College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. As Business Society president, she spearheaded the first Student Entrepreneur Fair, which allowed students who own small businesses to promote themselves and share ideas on expanding their businesses. Under her leadership, the Business Society also hosted a speaker series this year. Additionally, Mykytiuk has served as a peer mentor and orientation leader. In the community, she has served as a volunteer with Adopt-A-Highway, Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, the West Chester Food Cupboard, Toys for Tots, Project Linus, Philadelphia Community Corps and several other groups. “I really love how volunteering not only does good for those in need, but also brings the people who get involved together,” Mykytiuk says. “Both are important to build strong, active and healthy communities.”