1,338 to Graduate at WCU Winter Commencement Ceremonies

graduationImage by Gillian Callison

WEST CHESTER, PA — There are 1,338 students poised to begin the next chapters of their lives following graduation from West Chester University at winter commencement exercises being held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18 and 19.

Six ceremonies organized by the college will accommodate the 1,001 undergraduate students eligible to graduate at the University’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies in Hollinger Fieldhouse on North Campus. The number of graduates includes 27 students who completed their coursework at the Philadelphia campus this summer or this fall.

In addition, 337 graduate-level students from all of the University’s colleges and sites will receive their degrees together at a 3 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18, in Hollinger. This number includes 11 students who completed their coursework at the Philadelphia campus this summer or this fall.

The schedule is below:


9 a.m. – College of Business and Public Management 
12 p.m. – College of Arts and Humanities; Wells School of Music
3 p.m. – Graduate School (all Colleges)


9 a.m. – College of Sciences and Mathematics
12 p.m. – College of Education and Social Work; University College
3 p.m. – College of Health Sciences

See bios below for recipients of the President’s Medallions, which this year recognize two individuals whose impact on WCU has had a lasting impression.

All graduates and their guests, ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask when inside Hollinger Fieldhouse. Following the ceremonies, graduates are encouraged to recycle their caps and gowns in Ehinger Gym.

Tickets are required for all ceremonies. A livestream link is available for those without tickets in Schmucker Science Center Link, Room 151, and for anyone to watch online. Visit the Commencement website for additional details. 

Presidential Medallions To Be Presented at December Commencement Exercises

Eli Silberman
Nationally Renowned Advertising Executive
President’s Medallion recipient at the Graduate School ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18

Eli Silberman spent 14 years as a senior vice president and creative director with McCann-Erickson, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, before establishing and guiding his own firm in Philadelphia for 20 years. When he sold the company to Earle Palmer Browne, a major U.S. marketing and advertising firm, in 1998, The Silberman Group was among the top 20 advertising companies (from among more than 250) in sales in the Philadelphia region. Following the sale, Silberman became chair of the Philadelphia region for Earle Palmer Browne, a position he held for two years, when he retired from advertising to concentrate on writing.

Silberman has won numerous advertising awards, including Gold Medals from the New York Advertising Club and a Cannes Film Festival award. He has addressed meetings of many professional and industry organizations, including the American Marketing Association and the American Hospital Association. His campaigns, particularly those he created for major companies such as Miller Beer and Coca Cola, have been said to change the buying habits of America.

Silberman’s novel, E Train to Masada, combines moral and political questions spanning 2,000 years and three continents. Published in 2013, it follows a rising star at a New York advertising agency from Madison Avenue to a fortress in the Judean desert — and the White House.

Silberman has served on the Board of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Philadelphia Region; the Outreach Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Board of Upland Country Day School; the Chester County Economic Development Council; and the Board of DNB First. He serves on the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board and consults in marketing and advertising. A member of the West Chester University Council of Trustees from 2007 to 2019, he helped to develop the University’s first-ever television commercials.

Following graduation from SUNY Fredonia with a B.S. in speech communication, Silberman served as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Dr. C. James Trotman
Professor Emeritus of English, West Chester University
President’s Medallion recipient at the College of Art and Humanities ceremony, 12 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18

Dr. C. James Trotman is professor emeritus of English and founding director of West Chester University’s Frederick Douglass Institute. A vital part of the fabric of the WCU community since 1995, the institute hosts academic programs that promote excellence in scholarship, teaching, and institutional advancement. Trotman is also the founding convener (in 1999) of the Douglass Institutes on the 14 campuses of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

A prolific writer and researcher, Trotman is author of three books of literary criticism and numerous articles and papers on African-American and American studies. His biography of Frederick Douglass, published in 2011, is now in its sixth edition. Multiculturalism: Roots and Realities, edited by Trotman and first published in 2002, has had 16 editions. His other published works include critical studies of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and George W. Cable. In 2018, he delivered the inaugural Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste Frederick Douglass Institute Lecture, later published in the Boulé Journal. Trotman is currently finishing a biography of Matthew Anderson, the founder of the Berean Presbyterian Church, the Berean Bank, and the Berean Institute of Philadelphia.

A commissioner on the 2018 national Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission, Trotman was a leader in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminar on “Global Heritage and Legacy” in 2012 at Lincoln University (PA). In 2011, he received the Trustees Achievement Award from West Chester University. In 2010, he received the Leon Sullivan Award, recognizing outstanding community service on behalf of low-income individuals, from the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center. Professor Trotman served as chair and member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Humanities of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1994-2000.

In 2000, Trotman accepted a Fulbright Hays Fellowship to the Republic of Ghana. He was a distinguished visiting professor of English at Eastern University in 1989, and he received an appointment as a visiting fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1988. He participated in the NEH Seminar on “Afro-American Religious Studies for College Teachers” at Princeton University in 1986.

Trotman earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Penn State University and his doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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