At commencement on May 19, Wagner College graduated its 651 newest alumni in a ceremony that set some benchmarks.

On the practical level, it occurred on the Oval during a heat wave, with the temperature reaching 91 degrees Fahrenheit, on a day when the normal temperature is 71.

Despite Mother Nature’s whims, Wagner College proceeded to award its first earned doctorates, to the 11 graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program launched in 2014.

In addition, 11 bachelor’s degree graduates were in the first cohort of Bonner Leaders, a program Wagner College joined in 2013 to support students’ civic involvement, leadership skills, and ethical awareness.

Richard Negrin ’88 delivers his speech at Commencement 2017.
Richard Negrin ’88

The keynote speaker was Richard Negrin ’88, an alumnus who exemplifies the Wagner values of service and leadership.

“Don’t wait your turn,” he told the students. “I’m gonna say that again. Don’t wait your turn. We need your talents and your leadership today, right now.”

As a student, Negrin was co-captain of the Seahawk football team that won the 1987 Division III national college football championship. He earned a law degree, served as managing director of the city of Philadelphia, and most recently ran for the office of Philadelphia district attorney.

Dr. Warren R. Procci ’68

Dr. Warren R. Procci ’68, chair of the Wagner College Board of Trustees since 2012, also received an honorary degree.

The son of Waddie Procci ’36, he is a psychiatrist in private practice and at L.A. County/USC Medical Center and Harbor/UCLA Medical Center. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“The single most valuable educational experience I have had is my liberal arts education,” Procci said. “Facts will fade, but it’s the way in which the world works and what we learn about that in a liberal arts education, and the way the people in the world work — this is practical.”