Graduates on Lehigh Graduate Ceremony

Lehigh conferred 394 master’s degrees, 22 doctoral degrees and three educational specialist degrees for the Class of 2022.

Lehigh holds 2022 Doctoral Hooding, Commencement for Graduate Students

Those receiving postgraduate degrees from the Class of 2022 were honored Sunday morning.

Story by

Stephen Gross

Photography by

Christa Neu

Lehigh kicked off its Commencement Weekend 2022 celebrating doctoral and graduate students on an unseasonably hot and humid morning Sunday at Goodman Stadium.

At the first of the weekend’s ceremonies, Lehigh conferred 394 master’s degrees, 22 doctoral degrees and three educational specialist degrees for the Class of 2022 and held the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. Sunday’s graduates represented 27 states and 29 different countries outside of the United States.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P, welcomed attendees and introduced Nathan Urban, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Praveen Sreeramagiri ’22 Ph.D., the graduate student speaker introduced by Urban, offered congratulations to his fellow graduates and thanked President Joseph J. Helble ’82, Urban and Arindam Banerjee, professor and department chair in the department of mechanical engineering and mechanics chair, in addition to the faculty and staff who helped him as he worked toward his Ph.D.

Praveen Sreeramagiri ’22 Ph.D

Graduate Student Speaker Praveen Sreeramagiri ’22 Ph.D

He said the day reminded him of when he landed in the United States, after traveling thousands of miles from India to pursue his master’s degree.

“It was overwhelming at the time for me to leave my family and friends to pursue my career,” Sreeramagiri said. “And as if this was not sufficient, this was followed by a magnitude of changes in culture, food and lifestyle. In addition, studies are a whole different story once you get settled in college.”

He said change is hard, but that everyone graduating was quick enough to adapt to the changes they faced and pursued their goals. They deserved the celebration, he said.

In addition to thanking his parents, whom he said endured several hardships in sending him to the U.S. for his postgraduate education, and his sister, brother-in-law, uncle and aunt, who welcomed him to the country and provided him with “a home away from home,” he thanked his dissertation advisor, Ganesh Balasubramanian, associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics.

“He is not only my dissertation advisor, but has been an active mentor, guiding me in the right direction to pursue my career, professional and personal goals,” Sreeramagiri said. “Today would have been impossible for me without the constant support and motivation. His encouragement to think beyond the box, equipped me with curiosity and critical thinking, directing me towards an achievement I never dreamt of. This curiosity and encouragement are crucial for science and can lead to unimaginable and breathtaking discoveries.”

Judy Marks ’84 ’13P, the chair, CEO and president of Otis Worldwide Corporation, presented the Commencement Address

Judy Marks ’84 ’13P, the chair, CEO and president of Otis Worldwide Corporation, presented the Commencement Address

Judy Marks ’84 ’13P, the chair, CEO and president of Otis Worldwide Corporation, presented the Commencement Address, telling graduates she’s grateful for the education she received at Lehigh. She will also deliver the Commencement Address at Monday’s undergraduate ceremony. Marks offered eight lessons she learned in her career, including admitting what you don’t know, taking risks and being accountable. She also told graduates the problems they face today present them with an opportunity.

“As I stand here before you on this momentous occasion, I realize that my generation graduated college and faced the world with opportunity; opportunity in growing economies, in rising standards of living, in healthcare advances and in technology,” Marks said. “My generation is leaving your generation with more problems to solve. But a world without problems and challenges is ultimately a world without opportunity.”

Following Marks’ address, the graduate degrees were confirmed and doctoral candidates were hooded.

Helble wrapped up the ceremony by congratulating the graduates and offering advice.

President Helble

Lehigh President Joseph Helble congratulated graduates.

Helble named three Lehigh graduate alumni—Stephen S. Tang '85G '88 Ph.D., Bridget O’Connell ’95, ’97G, ’07 Ph.D. and Paul Corkum ’67G ’72 Ph.D.—whose expertise received “significant external recognition” over the past few months. He mentioned them, he said, because as those alumni did, the graduates in front of him at Sunday’s ceremony had developed expertise through their studies and are becoming experts. And it’s at a time, Helble said, when expertise is being questioned.

“As a scientist and engineer and as a university president, I will say this concerns me deeply,” Helble said. “Part of it is no doubt the political challenges of the times. Part of it is perhaps an inherent public skepticism of those with advanced degrees. But I'm convinced that a large part of it is that the experts are not particularly good at conveying their expertise in ways the public can understand.”

In light of that, Helble added a ninth lesson to Marks’ eight, asking the graduates to find their voice and use it by virtue of their advanced education in their field.

“You have begun to explore the depths of knowledge in one particular area,” Helble said. “Build on that, expand on that and use it to contribute to the public conversation in a thoughtful and respectful way. Don't be afraid to be an expert. We are counting on you. We need you. Society needs you.”

The Allentown Band, under the direction of conductor Ronald H. Demkee, opened the ceremony with a musical prelude and the processional and concluded the festivities with the recessional. Mark Andrew Schafer ’20 ’22G sang the national anthem and Lehigh’s Alma Mater. University Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, professor of religion studies, offered both the invocation and the benediction.

Story by

Stephen Gross

Photography by

Christa Neu

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