Alumnus to speak at undergraduate commencement May 11

Todd Platts, former U.S. Representative and a Shippensburg University graduate, will present the address May 11 during the Spring undergraduate commencement ceremony. Platts will also receive an honorary doctor of public service degree. 

plattsThe ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in Seth Grove Stadium. Approximately 1,000 students are expected to participate. The speaker for the graduate ceremony at 7 p.m. May 10 in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center will be announced shortly. 

In the event of bad weather May 11, the undergraduate the program will be in Heiges Field House in two separate ceremonies. Members of the John L. Grove College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services will participate in the 11 a.m. ceremony and members of the College of Arts and Sciences will participate in the 3 p.m. ceremony.  

Any decision to move indoors will be made by President Bill Ruud as soon as feasible. Individuals may call Hotline at 477-1200 about the ceremony. Final information will be available by 7 a.m. May 11. The information will also be posted on the university’s website as well as its social media sites. 

No tickets are required outdoors and seating is first-come, first-served. If moved indoors, tickets are required and only ticket holders will be admitted. Tickets are for general admission and do not guarantee a specific seat. The number of tickets each graduate will receive will be announced later this month. The program will be broadcast locally by SUTV as well as on the Internet. 

The stadium will open at 9 a.m. for guest admission. Light refreshments will be available in the arena for guests who arrive early. Guests should be seated by 10:30 a.m. If the program is indoors, guests are asked to be seated 30 minutes before the start of each program. Doors to the field house will open at 9 a.m. for the 11 a.m. ceremony and no later than 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. ceremony. 

Platts, a 1984 Shippensburg University graduate, served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 19th District of Pennsylvania, from 2001 until January 2013. A long-time supporter of term limits, he retired from Congress after twelve years of service to the 19th District that encompassed all of Adams and York Counties and the majority of Cumberland County, including Shippensburg. 

In 2010, Esquire Magazine named Congressman Platts one of its “10 Best Members of Congress.”  Platts served on the armed services, education and the workforce, oversight and government reform, and transportation and infrastructure committees. He chaired the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency and Financial Management for six years and also co-chaired several House caucuses, including the National Service Caucus, the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. 

A lifelong resident of York, he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in public administration from Shippensburg. He then attended Pepperdine University School of Law, graduating cum laude with a juris doctorate degree in 1991. He left private law practice to begin his career in public office in 1993 when he was elected to serve York County as a state representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He was re-elected to this post three times, serving until his 2000 election to the United States Congress.   

Further information about commencement is available at /events/graduation/commencement_ceremony/ or from Dr. Peter M. Gigliotti, Commencement Committee chair, at 477-1202 or via e-mail at