New beginnings in store for spring ‘12 grads

As the spring semester comes to an end, 1,183 students from Youngstown State University will be earning their degrees and diving into the professional world — or, possibly, more school.

Their first step, however, is to walk across the commencement stage in Beeghly Center in front of family, friends and the YSU community.

Joining the graduates on commencement day is Nanette Lepore, a YSU alumna who is the founder of her eponymous fashion brand.

After completing her undergraduate degree at YSU, Lepore went on to earn a degree in design from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Her brand has grown into an international business with boutiques in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

This year, the student speaker was chosen from the College of Fine and Performing Arts. Kaitlyn Fabian, who is receiving her bachelor’s degree in dance management, said she was excited to be selected.

“When Dr. Castronovo of the theater and department told me I was selected to be nominated, I was very surprised. I went into his office the next day, and he told me congratulations that I had been selected, and I was caught unaware because it happened so fast. But I was very excited and honored to be chosen,” Fabian said.

Dru Perren, the graduate student commencement speaker, will be earning a Master of Science in education degree. Her studies include a focus on clinical mental health counseling, with a specialization in counseling children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

Many faculty members are involved with commencement planning.

Jacquelyn LeViseur, interim director of alumni and events management, has been in charge of commencement planning since 2008.

“We hope the graduates stay in touch with the university. We always like to hear what’s going on with them, and, of course, we wish them great success,” LeViseur said. “Commencement is a full campus effort. It’s an exciting day for us and the graduates.”

The commencement ceremonies will take place on May 19 in Beeghly Center.

The undergraduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Of the graduates, 147 will receive associate degrees and 830 students will receive bachelor’s degrees.

The graduate ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. At the ceremony, 185 master’s degrees and 21 doctorates will be awarded.