Collectively the 49 young men in the school’s 52nd graduating class earned over $7.4 million in college scholarships. In addition they received more than 200 acceptances to over 100 colleges and universities, including Princeton, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Fordham, Colgate, Tufts, NYU, Notre Dame, Case Western Reserve, Drexel, Penn State, and the United States Military Academy.
More than 35% (18) of Devon Prep’s Class of 2012 are AP Scholars, 11 are AP Scholars with Distinction. Ten are National Merit Scholars, six are finalists and three are scholarship winners. Eight of these young men are Eagle Scouts and several will go on to participate in Division 1 and Division 3 baseball, basketball and cross country.
In addition, this senior class has performed over 2000 hours of community service doing everything from collecting and distributing food to needy families to raising nearly $24,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One senior, Daniel Lewis of Exton, performed over 200 hours of service by himself.
Speaking at this year’s graduation was Valedictorian Matthew D. Swatski of Narberth and Salutatorian Chase B. Weber of Wayne. Both of these young men are AP Scholars with Distinction, as well as Distinguished Honor students and members of the National Honor Society. Swatski plans to attend Penn State University Schreyer Honors College in the fall and Weber will attend Washington and Lee University.
In his speech to his classmates, Swatski spoke of how much each of the graduates received from Devon Prep and how it is time to “give back.” “It is not enough to just speak fondly of Devon,’ he said. “ We must give back our time and energy to this place we call home. Visiting the school, attending baseball games and donating to Devon are just some ways we can stay connected. Devon Prep is a family and families stick together.”
Earlier in the morning, Weber welcomed everyone in his Salutatory address. He urged his fellow graduates to use their talents and skills to improve the world.
“We have a duty to use the instruction we received and the skills we mastered to make the world a better place,” he said. “Looking around this room I see future pioneers from all fields of study. The world is facing a challenging time and as future leaders we have an obligation to influence the world for the better by maintaining our integrity and the morals that Devon has instilled in us. We will influence the world for better or worse,” he continued. “And it is up to each of one of us to decide which of these paths we will take. Devon has opened the doorway to endless possibilities. How we deal with these possibilities is what will decide the legacy of the Class of 2012.”
Also during the Commencement Ceremony Class of 1972 Alumnus Robert B. Mulhern, Jr., Esq. of Haverford, received the Alumni Achievement Award, presented to an alumnus who has significantly influenced and benefitted his profession. Mulhern serves as the General Counsel for Devon International Group (DIG), where he manages the legal activities of the DIG companies. Previously he was a partner at Swartz Campbell LLC in Philadelphia, specializing in the representation of individuals and corporations as defendants in litigation cases, focusing on personal injury, property damage and insurance coverage. He was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He has been named a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
As he gratefully accepted this award, Mulhern also urged the Class of 2012 to give back. “This award is about what can be accomplished when you go to Devon,” he said. “For those of us who came to Devon the idea was that if you succeed here, which all of you have done, simply by getting this far, the expectations on you, and on us, are great. The expectations are there for you to do great things, which you can do. When people find that you went to Devon, they think you’re smart,” Mulhern continued.
“They think you can get things done. They think you can help them. They think you can produce results. And we do. And we need you to join us in living up to that ideal. You guys are going to have great successes. And when you do we look for you to give back…to give back to your profession, to the community, and to Devon Prep.”
Mulhern graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and earned his JD from Villanova University School of Law in 1981. He serves as Chairman of Devon Prep’s Board of Trustees as well as President of the school’s Alumni Association, and as a member of the Finance and Executive Committees of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish.
This year’s guest speaker, Class of 1977 Alumnus Dr. Francis X. Diebold, III, of Wayne, is the Paul F. and Warren S. Miller Professor of Economics, Professor of Finance and Statistics, and Co-Director of the Financial Institutions Center at the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School. He is also a Faculty Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. Diebold is currently President of the Society for Financial Econometrics and Co-Editor of the Journal of Applied Econometrics.
A prize winning teacher and popular lecturer, Diebold has also held visiting appointments in Economics and Finance at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, Cambridge University, Johns Hopkins University and New York University. From 1986 to 1989 he served as an economist under Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington DC. During 2007-08 he served as an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
He received his BS from the Wharton School and his Ph.D. also from the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition, several awards were presented to the graduates honoring them for academic excellence, school spirit and community service. The Sean Popper Scholarship was presented to Hugh K. Phelan and Thomas E. Frawley. This scholarship is given to the Devon Prep graduate who personifies a love of God and perseverance despite adversity. The recipient accepts life’s difficulties with grace and dignity maintaining a positive spirit that motivates him to both personal and academic achievement.
Finally the coveted Brady-Gallagher Award was presented last to Benjamin F. Senss, chosen by his classmates for his exemplary selflessness and his devotion to Devon Prep and his fellow students.
Devon Prep is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school for young men in grades 6 to 12 conducted by the Piarist Fathers. Nearly 300 young men attend Devon Prep which is located on North Valley Forge Road in Devon, PA. For more information call 610-688-7337 or visit www.devonprep.com, or www.facebook.devonprep.com.