Mercersburg’s Hissong is top grad

Mercersburg’s Rachel Hissong is one of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s top graduates, completing her studies with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She a human development and family sciences major.

IUP’s commencement ceremonies take place Friday and Saturday at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex for its 1,720 2021 graduates. Students graduating in May and August are eligible to participate in the ceremonies.

Hissong, daughter of Richard Roy Hissong and Rebecca Lynn Meyers Hissong, is a 2018 graduate of St. Maria Goretti High School.

She is the recipient of the Eleanor Jean Anthony Scholarship, the Supporting Student Success Scholarship, and the Sutton Scholarship. She was a member of the Coalition for Christian Outreach.

Her service learning took place at the Community Guidance Center, LOLAs Early Care and Education Center, and the Indiana County Child Daycare Program.

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Graduation ceremonies

In order to follow health and safety guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be  four ceremonies for graduates: the graduate ceremony (for students receiving master’s and doctoral degrees) on May 7 at 7 p.m.; and undergraduate degree ceremonies on May 8 at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Social distancing recommendations will be followed for the event, and face coverings are required. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the door of the facility. Full cleaning and sanitation of the commencement ceremony area will take place between each ceremony.

“The Commencement Committee has done an incredible job in their thinking and planning, balancing health and safety concerns with a desire to provide an in-person recognition of our graduates,” IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll said. “Graduates and families have been very clear with their preference for an in-person event.

“Following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, we just couldn’t take the risk of in-person ceremonies in May and December 2020. I want to thank the graduates and families who understood our decision, and I also want to recognize the Commencement Committee, the speakers, the virtual platform party, and the Marketing and Communications Division who worked to create virtual commencement ceremonies to honor our graduates.

The ceremonies will be broadcast live on the university’s YouTube channel; links to the broadcasts are available on the IUP Commencement website ( After the event, the video recorded during the livestream will be available to watch anytime. Each webcast will begin 15 minutes before the actual start of the ceremonies.

Viritual ceremony

Students not able to attend the ceremonies are invited to submit information and photographs for a virtual ceremony which can be viewed on the IUP website May 22.

All graduates, regardless of attendance at the ceremony, will have their names listed in the printed program.

The 8:30 a.m. undergraduate ceremony is for students in the College of Education and Communications; College of Fine Arts, and College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony is for students from the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology; and John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The ceremony at 4:30 p.m. is for students from the College of Health and Human Services.

A total of 1,317 of the graduates qualify for bachelor’s degrees; 331 qualify for master’s degrees; 67 qualify for doctoral degrees and 5 for ssociate degrees. Of the bachelor’s degree applicants, 745 qualify for Latin honors with a grade-point average of 3.25 or above. 

The total number of graduates by College is 239 from the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology; 166 from the College of Education and Communications; 68 from the College of Fine Arts; 493 from the College of Health and Human Services; 142 from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; 209 from the Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and 398 from the School of Graduate Studies and Research.