Speakers & Honorary Degrees

Student speakers, honorary degree, and special award recipients make each academic college's Commencement ceremony a unique and personalized experience for graduates and guests. 

commencement speaker 1

Each Commencement ceremony features the conferral of degrees, greetings by university, alumni and state officials, remarks by a graduate and undergraduate speaker, and the awarding of an Honorary Degree or Distinguished Faculty Service Award.

Every May, one Commencement ceremony will feature a prominent Commencement speaker from outside of the university community. The ceremony with this notable speaker will be designated as the University Commencement. Although one ceremony will carry this designation, all ceremonies are equally significant. While the University Commencement ceremony can only accommodate graduates and guests of the academic college hosting the ceremony, the University Commencement as with all other ceremonies will be live-steamed from the Commencement homepage on the day of the ceremony.

Towson University Honorary Degree Recipients are selected through a process overseen by the Office of the President, while student speakers (graduate and undergraduate) are selected through nomination processes overseen by each academic college.

Spring 2017 University Commencement Speaker

scott burger

Scott Burger, President of the Americas for PANDORA, will speak at the College of Business and Economics (CBE) ceremony on Wednesday, May 24 at 10 am in the SECU Arena. Learn more about Scott Burger and this year's University Commencement.  



Spring 2017 Student Speakers

College of Business & Economics 

cbe grad speaker

Kochakorn "Mie" Rattanawatkul (Silver Spring, MD) will be graduating with a Master of Science degree in accounting and business advisory services and previously received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Towson University in 2016. Her most meaningful experience at TU has been building lifelong relationships with professors and peers. During her educational journey, Kochakorn was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, was nominated for TU’s Women in Leadership conference, and also completed over 2,500 hours of community service at TU and outside communities. After graduation, she will begin working full time as an auditor and also plans to study for the CPA exam in addition to travelling to Thailand to visit her family.  

cbe undergrad

Savannah Wilhelm (Columbia, MD) will be graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees in economics and political Science with a minor in international studies. During her time at TU, Savannah continuously made the Dean’s List, was a member of the Honors College, served as former president of the National Residence Hall Honorary, former vice president of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, and was TU’s first delegate to the Naval Academy’s Foreign Affairs Conference (NAFAC). Savannah has also represented TU by presenting her research at several conferences in the region and her political science senior seminary paper was nominated for the Dan Jones Writing prize. She was also a recipient of the Beulah M. Price scholarship and the Stephen K. Shock Memorial Endowment. After graduation, Savannah will be moving to Manhattan where she will work as a consulting analyst.  

College of Health Professions 

Meghan Mulhern (Gaithersburg, MD) will be graduating with a Master of Science in speech-language pathology. During her time at TU, Meghan was a graduate assistant and writing tutor at the Writing Center and also served as a research assistant for Dr. Kaitlyn Wilson in the Speech-Language Pathology department. In addition to holding these positions, Meghan was one of four authors of an article which was accepted to Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders. After graduation, Meghan will be working as a speech-language pathologist for Montgomery county schools.

chp undergrad speaker

Thomas Routh (West Sayville, NY) will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in health science with a minor in health care management. His most meaningful experience at TU was working with the Alzheimer’s Association to acquire skills to become an effective resource for the community. During his time at TU, Thomas made the Dean’s List and was also a member of the Towson University men’s rugby team. After graduation, he plans to work in the AmeriCorps for a year and will then pursue a dual master’s degree in social work and public health.

Fisher College of Science and Mathematics 

fcsm grad speaker

Lili Liu (Zhou Kou City, China) will be graduating with a Master of Science degree in applied information technology. Lili’s most meaningful TU experience has been connecting with her professors who have inspired her to understand and pursue her career passions. Previously,  Lili worked in a small group to design virtual 3D characters which they synchronized with robots so that both could make the same movements simultaneously. This project was presented at an exhibition in Singapore. In addition to this work, Lili was also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society.  After graduation, Lili would like to become a junior project manager at an IT company where she could work on a project team. 

fcsm undergrad speaker

Alexandra Vlk (Cockeysville, MD) will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry with a minor in physics. Throughout her journey at TU, she engaged in research projects that involved sequencing the microsatellite loci of local wood frogs (biology undergraduate thesis), performing functional analysis of the IRAK-M protein in human melanoma cell lines, and performing photoelectron spectroscopy of electron induced proton transfer systems (chemistry undergraduate thesis). As a member of the Honors College, she served as the President of the TU Chapter of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society, was an Anatomy and Physiology peer tutor, and was also active in the community as a volunteer at the House of Ruth and at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Among several academic accolades, she has recently been awarded the Lois D. Odell Award for Outstanding Senior Biology Major. In August, Alexandra will begin medical school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where she will pursue both MD and PhD degrees in the 8-year Medical Scientist Training Program.

College of Liberal Arts 

cla grad speaker

Stephanie Aseraph (Rockville, MD) will be graduating with a Master of Arts in leadership in Jewish education and communal service and previously received a Bachelor of Arts in family and human services in 2016. Stephanie’s most meaningful experiences while studying at TU were the two semesters she spent abroad in Israel as both an undergraduate and graduate student. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, Stephanie has been very involved on campus which included her co-founding the Tigers for Israel organization, working as an orientation leader, and being a member of the Black Student Union’s Soul Dance team. After graduation, Stephanie will be working as the D.C. Regional Representative for Masa Israel Journey, which is an organization that provides various opportunities for young adults to travel to Israel.

cla undergrad speaker

Usjid Hameed (Cockeysville, MD) will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. During his time at TU, Usjid frequently made the Dean’s List, was a Summer 2016 Gilman Scholar, an editor on the Towson University Journal of International Affairs, a Resident Assistant, a Greek ambassador, and a TU Leadership Consultant. He also held two congressional internships and directed a state delegate campaign in 2014. After graduation, Usjid will be the Legislative and Communications Coordinator for the Columbus, OH chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations where he will serve as an advocate for the Muslim community.

College of Education

coe grad speaker

Randy Johnson (Baltimore, MD) will be graduating with a Master of Arts degree in teaching. Randy currently works as a Special Educator at City Neighbors Hamilton, and will continue in this position after graduation. In addition to this role, he plans to expand the scope of his educational, agricultural, and spiritual work through devoting more time to developing sustainable community structures. Randy is a member of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, a 2017 BCCE Christian Educator Honoree, a core staff member of Orita’s Cross Freedom School, an executive board member of Black Dirt Farm Collective, a proud father and a grateful husband.

coe undergrad speaker

Samantha Romero Duenas (Rockville, MD) will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education. During her time at TU, Samantha frequently made the Dean’s List, was one of Towson University’s 2017 Teachers of Promise, a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, as well as a recipient of the Alpha Delta Kappa scholarship award. She also served as a Resident Assistant (RA) since 2014 and was a member of the club volleyball team. After graduation, Samantha hopes to take the ESOL praxis to become a teacher at a public school system in Maryland and eventually plans to return to school to become a principal.

College of Fine Arts and Communication 

cofac grad speaker

Kathryn Heuston (Baltimore, MD) will be graduating with a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary arts infusion and previously received a Bachelor of Science in art education from Towson University in 2010. During her time as a graduate student, Kathryn has been active in the Maryland Art Education Association and National Art Education Association. Kathryn currently works as an elementary art educator for Baltimore County public schools and plans to continue in this position after graduation.

cofac undergrad speaker

Laura Gede (Reisterstown, MD) will be graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees in electronic media & film and theatre. While at TU, Laura continuously made the Dean’s List, was the production chair and president of Lambda Kappa Tau - Film & Media Production Society, a winner at the 2016 Media Arts Film Festival, coordinated the Halfway There Film Festival, and served on the COFAC College Council. After graduation, Laura plans to further her work on video and in theatre and eventually plans to pursue a joint law and Master of Fine Arts degree to aid her in her ultimate goal of advocating for arts funding in education and the government.