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Gannon University to celebrate Ruskin campus 2023 Commencement

Published: 05/12/2023

This year’s graduating class of 115 students will receive 51 master’s degrees and 64 doctoral degrees.

This year’s graduating class of 115 students will receive 51 master’s degrees and 64 doctoral degrees.

One hundred and fifteen graduates of the Class of 2023 at Gannon University’s Ruskin, Fla. Campus will be recognized during the 2023 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at the Tampa Convention Center at 3 p.m. Graduate Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Prince of Peace Church.

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will award degrees to the graduates in attendance. This year’s graduating class of 115 students will receive 51 master’s degrees and 64 doctoral degrees, including 25 Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees and 39 Occupational Therapy Doctorate degrees.  

Taylor is also this year’s keynote speaker. He was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, during the Erie Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 6. 

For more information on Gannon University’s Ruskin Commencement ceremony visit

Please note: A professional photographer will be taking pictures as graduates enter and exit the stage. Graduates will receive a proof within a few weeks. Due to venue limitations, a live stream of the event will not be available. However, in the days that follow the event a sharable link to a video of the complete ceremony will be emailed to graduates. 

About the Speaker

Keith Taylor, Ph.D., is the seventh president of Gannon University, a Catholic, diocesan, comprehensive university founded in 1925 by Archbishop John Mark Gannon. He was appointed to the role in May 2011. Gannon University offers six doctoral, 29 master’s, 57 bachelor’s and six associate degree programs across two campuses – one in Erie, Pa., and one in Ruskin, Fla. Taylor served as Gannon’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2005-2011. During his tenure, he established a dynamic strategic vision and integrated planning and operations that empowered the community to achieve great success across all dimensions of university work in their efforts to transform lives. His focus as provost continued into his presidential leadership having reorganized Gannon’s academic structure to a more integrated three-college model; created a growing satellite campus in Ruskin, Fla.; added new strategic academic programs to meet current and future market needs; and instituted the Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) and OWB (Our West Bayfront) neighborhood revitalization programs. He is noted for his open, strategic leadership style and commitment to students, service to the community, and building cultural and global awareness.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, a master’s degree in exercise science and a doctoral degree in anatomy and cell biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has 35 years of experience as a faculty member, scholar, and leader at all levels of higher education.

Gannon’s Vision 2020 comprehensive campaign culminated in 2016 with more than $67 million raised to support a spectrum of critical needs; and Gannon’s Believe. Inspire. Transform. capital campaign has raised more than $82 million toward its $100 million goal in 2025.

More than $135 million in major capital improvements have been completed during the past decade in Erie and Ruskin, including construction and transformation of seven academic buildings, the Nash Library, North Hall, I-HACK and South Hall. These facility and program enhancements have transformed the campus and allowed the community to make great strides to bolster efforts to support student learning and achievement. Gannon’s commitment to access and affordability to a growing diverse student population is reflected in the additional academic, personal and career advising, and resources offered to first-generation, low income and disabled students bolstered by the burgeoning success in extramural funding since the establishment of the Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects as well as the Student Success Center.

Taylor has also reaffirmed Gannon’s commitment to social justice and Catholic social teaching with ardent support for the Center for Social Concerns and Mission and Ministry efforts. The Erie-GAINS and OWB initiatives began under Taylor’s leadership and represent a series of intentional partnerships with government agencies, businesses, and community organizations to revitalize the neighborhoods surrounding Gannon’s campus.

Prior to his work at Gannon, Taylor served Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., from 1988-2005 as a full professor, academic dean of health and human services, chairman of the Department of Physical Therapy, as well as the assistant to the vice president for academic affairs for instructional technology and liberal learning.

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