Manor College announces 2017 Commencement Speaker – Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera

Pedro Rivera The Manor College 2017 Commencement is set for Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 1:00pm in Mother of Perpetual Help Hall Auditorium on Manor’s campus On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the graduating class of 2017 will gather at 1:00 pm in the Mother of Perpetual Help Hall Auditorium on the Manor College campus, surrounded by family, friends, faculty, staff and alumni for the commencement processional. 100+ students, who have shown their efforts through hard work and dedication, will receive their long-awaited diplomas conferring Associate degrees in Science and Arts. Pedro A. Rivera, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, will be this year’s commencement speaker. Raised in the Huntington Park section of North Philadelphia, Rivera is a lifelong educator and very familiar with Manor College. From 2008 – 2015, he served as the superintendent of the School District of Lancaster. His position as Secretary of Education was appointed to him by Governor Tom Wolf and was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate in 2015. “Secretary Rivera has to be among Pennsylvania’s most dedicated Secretaries of Education.  Having had the chance to sit around the table with him in multiple venues, I can say without pause that he is incredibly down-to-earth and devotionally focused on improving education for  Pennsylvania’s students,” said Manor College’s President Jonathan Peri, “we are blessed that he will be our commencement speaker for 2017.” Prior to his title as superintendent, Rivera spent 13 years in the education field as he worked his way up. He served as a teacher, a staff member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, an assistant principal, a principal and the executive director for the School District of Philadelphia. His extensive experience in education and a career of helping students is heavily utilized in his role under Governor Wolf. During his time as superintendent, Rivera and his team created a new PreK-12 curriculum, an aggressive professional development plan and innovative teacher observation tools. Under these changes, the district’s graduation rates and state assessment scores improved, including noticeable increases in math, writing and science, along with heightened participation in college-aimed programs. Rivera also served on the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, which created a funding formula to reinvest in Pennsylvania’s schools that was signed by Governor Wolf in June 2016. In September of 2014, Rivera was one of only ten nationwide to be honored as a Champion of Change by the White House. Rivera’s district has also been recognized by the Washington Post for having one of the top twenty high schools for academic rigor in the United States. Manor College welcomes Rivera as its 2017 Commencement speaker, and is looking forward to hearing his thoughtful remarks to the Manor College Class of 2017.  

Dr. Matt Smalarz Awarded as 2017 Educator of the Year

Professor of History, Dr. Matt Smalarz named the 2017 Educator of the Year! At the 14th Annual Founders Day celebration, the Student Body of Manor College awarded Dr. Matthew Smalarz with the Educator of the Year Award. This award is a student nominated award where the students hand in nominations about their beloved professors and upon careful review from the Student Senate, an Educator of the Year is picked. This year, Professor of History, Dr. Smalarz was awarded this honor. One student said “is extremely helpful and cares about our education.”   A professor who “is a tough professor but his lessons are very detailed.” Another student commented saying, “He makes sure everyone in the class knows what they are supposed to be learning and goes at the pace of class. He always responds when you need him and he is good with explaining lessons.” His love of teaching and patience is evidenced by this award, “(He is) very professional! Each class he is excited and prepared. Most people in the class, on our first test, were very worried that we were not prepared but after the test we all passed! He puts the material in our heads and we all talk about how he really makes sure we know our material.” This past September marked 4 years of teaching at Manor for this professor and he is highly respected by his colleagues, who describe him as someone who goes “above and beyond his job” and who is a “great guy”.  This professor is also the Chaplain for the Manor College Men’s Soccer team and he volunteered his personal time to attend every practice and game to show students the that there is more to athletics than athletics…he showed them the spiritual side. It is rumored that he has an impressive collection of vintage major league baseball hats (along with minor league teams) and that if he had the chance, he would front a rock band!