November 6, 2020

A drive-in graduation to remember at Manor College


Business leader Leslie Turner speaks at the Manor College graduation.

JENKINTOWN, Pa. – If you were in the vicinity of Fox Chase Road in this Philadelphia suburb on October 10, you likely heard the roaring cheers and loud car horns of the graduating class of Manor College. The college held its annual 2020 commencement ceremony in a different way this year.

Typically, the entire campus community, including the graduating class along with their families, joins together in the gymnasium. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the college held the 69th commencement ceremony in the parking lot in drive-in style.

While the new, socially distanced format did change the number of hugs and handshakes that were able to be shared, this shift in modality did not at all take away from the accomplishments of the graduating class.

Serving as master of ceremonies was Danielle Preston, a Philadelphia market audit leader at RSM US LLP and member of the Manor College Board of Trustees.

Manor College President Jonathan Peri addresses the commencement crowd.

Student speakers included Jamal Utqi, Manor’s first-ever bachelor’s degree graduate, and Privish Sadaqat, a top-notch student who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan just two years ago. Both speakers mentioned how grateful they were for their experiences at Manor and underscored that their fellow graduates should be proud of accomplishing so much during a pandemic.

Leslie Turner, business leader and former executive for the Hershey Co., Coca Cola Co. and the Clinton Administration, addressed the crowd, lined up in cars, tuning in through an FM radio station. A theme in Ms. Turner’s speech was the importance of memories. She stressed the significance of always remembering this special occasion, as it is one of the most meaningful days in a student’s life. “Don’t stop here. Keep dreaming; keep defying the odds,” she told the graduates, the majority of whom are first-generation college students.

The commencement’s master of ceremonies, Ms. Preston, commented: “I am very blessed to have been a part of such a joyous occasion. There was such a great energy, as we were able to celebrate the successes of our 2020 graduates. I’m proud to be part of an institution that continues to be innovative while navigating the recent challenges.”

Located in suburban Philadelphia, Manor College is America’s only accredited institution of higher education founded by Ukrainian Sisters, the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great. Manor offers more than 50 associate’s, bachelor’s and certificate programs in allied health, arts and sciences, business and professional studies, and education. To learn more go to