Lacrosse seniors ready to ‘rise to the challenge’ following Special Commencement Ceremony

From earning honors in their studies, battling the best lacrosse programs in Division III, and driving fundraising efforts to support national non-profit organizations, including the HEADStrong Foundation, the Gettysburg College lacrosse graduates were recognized for their strong work ethic in their Special Commencement Ceremony on May 12.

“That’s what a Gettysburg education is all about: readying you to be doers [and] inspiring you to apply what you’ve learned for the greater good,” said President Bob Iuliano inside Kline Theatre.

The event marked the largest Special Commencement to date due to postseason play for both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams being scheduled during the main Commencement exercises. Together, 18 members of the Class of 2022 celebrated—Julia Horner, Nora Janzer, Caroline Keenaghan, Caroline Regan, Maddie Seibel, and Cecily Stabler from women’s lacrosse; and Nate Capriglione, Griffin Gallagher, Connor Hume, Tate Kienzle, Spencer Knife, Liam Lacon, Scott MacMillan, Max Merlino, Joe Persche, Jonah Scher, Tommy Shinske, and Elon Tuckman from men’s lacrosse.

Bob Iuliano speaking from a podium on an indoor stage
President Bob Iuliano addresses the lacrosse seniors and their families inside Kline Theatre.

In his first Special Commencement, Iuliano shared the teams’ elation in celebrating this momentous day at the College, but also the exciting prospects ahead to continue their athletic prowess on the field.

“Let me begin by expressing my joy and excitement for all that this remarkable group of seniors has accomplished, both on and off the field,” said Iuliano. “The fact that we are hosting this ceremony today speaks, in large measure, to the tremendous success you have achieved as leaders of your respective teams. In keeping up with your seasons, and attending some thrilling contests, I was hopeful that your performance would bring us to this exact moment. Lo and behold, here we are!”

“And now, you have the rare opportunity to add to your legacy by what you will do—and more importantly, by how you will do it—in the days, weeks, and years ahead. I know you will rise to the challenge.”
President Bob Iuliano to the Class of 2022 lacrosse graduates

The ceremony also featured congratulatory remarks from Provost Chris Zappe and Health Sciences Prof. Josef Brandauer, who served as the faculty speaker. Brandauer commended the seniors’ ability to adapt and push forward despite any challenges in their paths, and the future opportunities that await them beyond Gettysburg

“However you define your priorities, I hope that you take the opportunity your Gettysburg education has afforded you to smoothen the path for those who follow in your footsteps,” said Brandauer. “I wish for you to find challenges that you will find meaningful; most importantly, I sincerely hope that you will distinguish yourself by being kind to those that most need it, and receive kindness from those around you in return.“

While some were experiencing the event for the first time, including Iuliano and Peter Toner in his first season as the men’s lacrosse head coach, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Carol Cantele ’83, P’15 and Associate Coach Barb Jordan watched their seniors cross the stage in a special ceremony for the 12th and final time since 2007, as they are both retiring at the end of the season.

“I will relish this day and will never forget this class as we ‘graduate’ together,” said Cantele.

Watch the 2022 Special Commencement on YouTube

The graduating seniors earned degrees from the following programs, with Capriglione, Horner, Kienzle, Persche, Scher, and Shinske earning cum laude honors, and Seibel receiving summa cum laude recognition:

Graduates standing on the steps of Penn Hall underneath banners

“For the College to go above and beyond to make the athletes and their families feel special for all they have contributed over their four years is really remarkable,” said Toner. “I do think the intimacy of this event with their teammates and other student-athletes is pretty special, and they will remember it for a lifetime.” 

In his closing remarks, Iuliano noted the opportunity these women and men have before them to leave a mark on the lacrosse field, in their careers, and in their lives once they graduate.

“Graduates, you have embodied this commitment during your time as Gettysburg students,” said Iuliano. “And now, you have the rare opportunity to add to your legacy by what you will do—and more importantly, by how you will do it—in the days, weeks, and years ahead. I know you will rise to the challenge.”

Both teams will compete in the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships this weekend. The men face Roanoke College on Saturday and the women await the winner of Saturday’s first-round matchup between Bryn Athyn College and Roanoke College on Sunday.

Special Commencement 2022

By Corey Jewart
Photos by Shawna Sherrell
Posted: 05/12/22