Albion native delivers Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony student address


Seneta 2021

Scarlett Seneta represents December Class of 2021

Albion, Pa., native Scarlett Seneta, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education, represented the Class of 2021 during Edinboro University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Dec. 11.

Seneta was also honored with the Outstanding Departmental Graduate award for the Middle and Secondary Education and Educational Leadership program.

During her senior year at Northwestern High School, Seneta enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Religious Program Specialist. Then directly after high school, she started her military career and training.

She also attended Boston University briefly, before coming home to Pennsylvania to attend Edinboro University, where many of her family members also attended.

In addition to her focus on academics, Seneta also enjoyed working at Klein Plating Works as a sales assistant, coaching girls’ basketball and volunteering at her church.

After graduation, Seneta will pursue a master’s of Divinity degree through Liberty University, so that she may become a chaplain in the Navy Reserves, while also teaching in the civilian world.

Interim President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson recognized 547 students during the first in-person ceremony since 2019. Dr. Michael Hannan, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs conferred associate and bachelor’s degrees on 182 undergraduates during the morning ceremony and master’s degrees upon 86 graduate students in the afternoon – with several students attending from the Class of 2020.


 Thank you, Dr. Hannan, Edinboro faculty and staff, and congratulations to my fellow graduates. Edinboro University is a starting point, home for those who strive. This is where “Scotland the Brave” motivates, where friendships and professional networks are built, and most importantly, it is where this chapter of our lives prepared us for our futures. To us, hearing bagpipes early in the morning is completely normal, and plaid is the new black.

Nearly 164 years ago, the residents of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, bought one acre of land and a building they called the Edinboro Academy. It was established to train teachers in Northwest Pennsylvania. Just 4 years later, the Edinboro Academy grew into the Northwest State Normal School, and in 1914, the name changed again and we became the Edinboro State Normal School, continuing the mission to educate teachers for our public schools.

The name changed a few more times during the 20th century with the introduction of Art, the liberal arts, and the professional sciences. Finally, in 1983, the single acre had grown into hundreds of acres, and the school became recognized by the name we all know and love, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

During the 164 years, from the establishment of Edinboro Academy to the incorporation of Edinboro University, the world around us has also experienced growth through change.

Let me try to put that change in perspective.

  1. In March 1857, the largest slave auction in U.S. history took place in Savannah, Georgia, where 436 men, women, and children were sold. In 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday to recognize the date of the final emancipation of slaves in Texas.
  1. In March 1857, Elisha Otis’ first elevator was installed in NYC. In 2021, NASA’s Integrity helicopter performed the first ever powered flight on Mars.
  1. In 1857, Joseph Gayetty invented the modern-day version of toilet paper. In 2021, who would have thought it would be a hot commodity?

Just like the university experienced growth through change, we have and will continue to experience growth through change. The past few years, whether it took you four or more years to receive your degree, we have all been pushed to grow by our faculty, our mentors, and our peers alike. Thank you to all those who prepared us for what comes next.

As a basketball coach, I tell my team to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The Edinboro Family pushed us to do just that: be comfortable with the uncomfortable. As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, we have learned not to fear change but to accept it, embrace it, and move forward with pride in what we’ve achieved here.

No matter if you graduated from the Edinboro Academy, Northwest State Normal School, Edinboro State Normal School, or the Edinboro State Teachers College – as some of our ancestors have – or whether you went to Edinboro State College or you graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania as we do today or PennWest: Edinboro, as the next generation of Fighting Scots will do, we are all united in the fact that we bleed plaid, we love angus, and we will forever be Fighting Scots.

Congratulations, Edinboro University Class of 2020 and 2021. May you get comfortable with the uncomfortable, continue to grow, change and succeed as we’ve been prepared to do. Thank you.