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Westminster to celebrate 170th spring commencement

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Posted on Sunday, May 5, 2024

More than 230 students are expected to earn degrees at Westminster College’s 170th commencement ceremony at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 11, on the Weisel Senior Terrace of Old Main. The ceremony will be preceded by a baccalaureate service at 10 a.m. in the Wallace Memorial Chapel.

In addition to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Business Administration and Master of Education degrees being presented during the commencement ceremony, Gage Hendrickson ’24, a biology major and former men’s basketball player from Irvine, Pa., will be posthumously awarded a Bachelor of Science degree. Hendrickson passed away in January following a December 2023 automobile accident.

During the ceremony, alumnus Paul Trokhan ’68 will be awarded a Doctor of Science honorary degree. Trokhan, retired senior inventor at Procter & Gamble (P&G), is recognized as the leading mind behind the unique technology that resulted in high-quality paper products such as Bounty paper towels, Charmin toilet paper and Puffs tissues.

Trokhan, who earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Westminster and a master’s in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, developed photopolymer molding templates for use in high-speed through-air-dried (TAD) tissue-making processes which significantly changed the way tissue products are made. His photopolymer technology is utilized on virtually all of P&G’s global bath tissue and paper towel products.

In 2022, Trokhan retired from P&G after 51 years with the company. At the time of his retirement, he was a named inventor on more than 450 U.S. patents.

Commencement exercises will also feature the presentation of the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award, given to a tenured faculty member who has demonstrated characteristics of the most outstanding faculty—intellectual vitality, effective communication skills, the ability to motivate or inspire compassion and concern for student success, collegiality and leadership.

Peyton Aujay ’24, a music education and music performance double major from Lowber, Pa., will offer the senior address during commencement exercises.

Senior vocalists Camille Baptiste '24, a music education major and summa cum laude graduate from Slippery Rock, Pa., Taylar Getsy '24, a music education major from North Versailles, Pa., and Hunter Peterson '24, a music performance major from Russell, Pa., will sing the Westminster College Alma Mater during commencement.

The morning’s baccalaureate message, “Continuance, Gratitude and Joy,” will be offered by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Pomerville, president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  Pomerville, ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), earned his undergraduate from Alma College, his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

This year’s baccalaureate service, led by College Chaplain the Rev. James Mohr II, will feature a special memorial tribute in remembrance of senior classmate Hendrickson. Noah Gray ’24, a biology major from Beaver, Pa., will provide a scripture reading, Thomas Bablak ’24, a marketing and professional sales major from Russell, Pa., will offer words of remembrance, James Sentz ’24, a biology major from Catonsville, Md., will conduct the candle lighting and Anthony Kamenski ’24, a history major from Chicora, Pa., will lead a prayer.

Other baccalaureate student senior speakers include:

  • Theresa Schneider ’24, a business administration major from Chardon, Ohio.
  • Tomi Taiwo ’24 of Pittsburgh. Taiwo is a business administration and marketing and professional sales double major and cum laude graduate.
  • Lane Voytik ’24 of Sharon, Pa. Voytik is a biology major and summa cum laude graduate.

Brianna Dunlap ’24 and Alexandra Coker ’24 will provide special music during the service. Dunlap is a individual interdisciplinary major and summa cum laude graduate from Canfield, Ohio, and Coker is a psychology major from Export, Pa.

In case of inclement weather, commencement will relocate to the Will W. Orr Auditorium.

The baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies will broadcast live on, Armstrong (channel 72 in New Wilmington and channel 204 in Grove City), and Comcast (channel 183 in New Castle) cable systems. Stay connected on social media by using and searching #WC23.

For more details about commencement, please visit