Penn State Behrend kicked off the first of several college commencement ceremonies Friday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
It was a day more than 572 Behrend students will never forget, walking in as students leaving as alumni.
Andrea Kressler says, “It’s exciting, really exciting. Behrend has offered a ton of opportunities and I am happy I was able to spend five years here and get the most of it.”
Kressler is born and raised in Erie.
Friday she graduated with a master’s in accounting, and is now moving to Columbus to begin her career.
Kressler says, “I had an internship in Erie at a smaller public accounting firm, and I really liked the work. And there are a lot of opportunities here. But I wanted to be kind of at a larger firm to get my foot wet, I guess. So that’s why I decided to leave. “
While others are choosing to leave erie after walking across the big stage today, some are choosing to stay.
Matthew Lesnett came to Behrend from the Pittsburgh area for the ROTC program, and plans to stay in Erie.
Lesnett says, “I love being outdoors and there’s lots of opportunities for being outside. And it’s just a nice area, the people are awesome. The biggest thing I guess is the college has made a big impact on me and helped me out in a lot of ways and now it’s my time to give back.”
Lesnett is joining the PPennsylvania National Guard and is working toward entering the State Police Academy.
And he says graduating was a hurdle knocked down for his dreams.
Lesnett says, “Just a big accomplishment and then the next step in life journey.”
Penn state behrend officials say 572 is average for the May commencement.
And best of luck to all the new graduates.