News Release

Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 295-1164

Wilmington University Celebrates the Class of 2017 at Spring Commencement

Wilmington University awarded 1,985 degrees to graduates of all academic programs on Sunday, May 21, at the 46th annual Spring Commencement ceremonies at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

Including 1,740 degrees presented at the Winter Commencement in January, and the degrees earned by those unable to attend the ceremonies in person, the Wilmington University Class of 2017 boasts a grand total of 4,600 graduates from an overall Wilmington University enrollment of more than 21,000 students. This year's graduates will join an alumni network over 43,000 strong both internationally and domestically.

Following remarks by University Executive Vice President Dr. LaVerne Harmon, incoming University President as of July 1, and Dr. Jim Wilson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jack Varsalona presented 2,347 degrees to graduates across all programs at three ceremonies. The 46th Spring Commencement ceremonies were the last at which Dr. Varsalona presented degrees as President of Wilmington University. He will retire on June 30. 

A big surprise 

During the 1:00 ceremony, U. S. Army 2nd Lt. Artist Jones, newly arrived from his deployment in Germany, surprised girlfriend Loveleigh Dey Goode as she walked across the stage in front of the audience and her classmates. Goode did not know that Lt. Jones had flown in for her graduation. And there was an extra added surprise: Jones dropped to one knee on the stage and proposed to Goode as the audience erupted in cheers and applause. More than a few wiped away tears of joy as the newly engaged couple joined hands and walked off the stage. 

Student speakers

Each of the three commencement ceremonies features a student speaker specially selected by the University for his or her exemplary academic performance and service to the community. 

On Wednesday evening, May 17, 362 degrees were awarded to graduates who attended classes at the University's Georgetown, Delaware, location.

Paul Inge 

Paul, a resident of Magnolia, Delaware, was the student speaker at the Georgetown commencement ceremony. Paul was awarded a Master of Science in Nursing degree, which he earned while maintaining a 3.97 grade point average (GPA). He was selected as a speaker in part due to his high academic standing and his dedication to community service through Southside Baptist Church. 

In order of appearance, the speakers at each of the three commencement ceremonies held on May 21 in New Castle County were: 

Timothy Eden

Tim is a resident of Townsend, Delaware. He received a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and attained a perfect 4.0 grade point average through the completion of his program. He is one of only two neurointerventional radiology nurse practitioners in Delaware and is employed by Christiana Care Health System as an adult nurse practitioner. He was recently nominated for the 2017 "Top APRN Nurse Award" from the Delaware Nurses Association. APRN is the acronym for "advanced practice registered nurse."

Marion E. Chandler

Marion (Mary), was presented with a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies, which she earned with a 3.98 grade point average. Currently employed as the business manager at Isdell Sanitation and Pumping Service in Milford, Delaware, Mary has also been inducted into the Delta Epsilon Rho honor society because of her high academic achievement. She is a resident of Milford, Delaware.

Krista Fowler

Krista marks the completion of her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a 3.92 grade point average and a concentration in Integrated Marketing. During her academic program, Krista served an internship with Mobius New Media in Wilmington as a social media specialist, and was also a marketing and communications intern at Wilmington's Urban Bike Project. She is employed by Partners in Health and Well Being as a marketing coordinator and resides in Newark, Delaware.

Watch  the recorded ceremonies

To watch highlights of the spring graduation of the Wilmington University Class of 2017, please check the University website for video after May 26:

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Ranked as the third fastest growing doctoral institution in America 2003 – 2013 by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education, affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention are hallmarks of the University that enable greater student success in their chosen careers. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at, or visit our website:

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 - New Castle, DE