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Gannon Celebrates Erie Campus Spring 2021 Commencement

Published: 05/07/2021

Congratulations to the Gannon Class of 2021

Congratulations to the Gannon Class of 2021

Seven hundred ninety-nine graduates of the Class of 2021 will be recognized during Gannon University’s three Spring 2021 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 at the Erie Insurance Arena.

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will award degrees to graduates in attendance. This year’s graduating class of 799 students will receive 56 doctoral degrees, 251 master’s degrees, 482 bachelor’s degrees and 10 associate’s degrees. Sixty students will graduate summa cum laude. Students from 29 nations will earn degrees.

The University will also recognize nearly 90 graduates of the Class of 2020, who are returning for a special Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 9 at the Erie Insurance Arena.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Harry Hairston ’77, a retired senior investigative reporter for NBC10 Philadelphia. Gannon will award Hairston a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, during the ceremonies.  

To ensure the well-being of our communities, only graduates and a limited number of guests will be attending these celebrations in person. COVID-19 guidelines will be enforced to ensure attendees can celebrate as safely as possible and includes a completion of a COVID-19 health survey, temperature scans, social distancing, mask wearing and other safe and healthy behaviors.

We encourage you to join our graduates virtually to support and congratulate them on their milestone achievement by visiting on the day of the event.

About the Speaker

Harry Hairston ’77 recently retired as senior investigative reporter for NBC10 Philadelphia, where he worked for 17 years.

Hairston received several Mid-Atlantic Emmy® awards during his career with NBC10. He was the first to report on the sexual allegations filed against actor and comedian Bill Cosby. In 2015, he was the first in the nation to report aggravated indecent sexual assault charges filed against Cosby. Hairston’s reporting also heavily influenced and helped strengthen New Jersey’s anti-swatting laws. In 2013, he was recognized for an investigative series that uncovered candy drop box scammers, which led to their arrest and conviction. His work also led to stronger accountability processes within City Hall after he exposed how Philadelphia officials could not account for $21 million in missing items purchased with taxpayers’ money.

In 2012, Hairston received a Mid-Atlantic Emmy for his exclusive jailhouse interview with Rabbi Fred Neulander, who was serving time inside New Jersey's maximum-security state prison for the 1994 murder of his wife. Hairston received another Emmy in 2012 for his exclusive report on a New Jersey schoolteacher who bullied a special needs student in class, garnering national and international attention.

In 2011, Hairston was named “Journalist of the Year” by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

Hairston’s passion has been to be the voice for those who feel they aren’t being heard. Through his work with NBC10 Responds, he helped viewers with consumer issues gain back more than $1 million. 

Hairston is a native of Pittsburgh. He participates in many community causes around heart disease, cancer research, mental health research and education, diversity and community improvement. Hairston also supports the dedication of first responders. His hobbies include playing golf and tennis, and riding motorcycles.

See more information on this weekend's ceremonies and view the live streams: visit