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PITTSBURGH, May 22, 2014 – On Saturday, May 3, the Class of 2014 at La Roche College learned the formula for success from professional athlete and community advocate Charlie Batch when he delivered the College’s 49th commencement address. La Roche conferred 359 degrees at the ceremony.

“Being a pro is about bringing your absolute best with you to work and mastering your expertise,” Mr. Batch told the graduating class. “Expecting your best is a high standard. It means putting in the work and doing daily what ordinary people do occasionally.”

Mr. Batch, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from La Roche, spent the first four seasons of his professional career with the Detroit Lions before returning to his hometown as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002. He has spent the past 11 seasons with the Steelers, including Super Bowl XL and XLIII championships. Aside from his NFL career, Mr. Batch is well known throughout the region for his community involvement. He takes a very active, hands-on role in the Best of the Batch Foundation, which he established in 1999 to serve underprivileged youth.

Mr. Batch shared how his desire to give back began after he experienced a personal tragedy in 1998, when his sister, Danyl, was killed, an innocent victim of gunfire between rival gangs.

“At that moment, I said to myself, ‘What do I do?’ And I remembered a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:  ‘It’s not where you stand during comfort and convenience, but it’s how you stand during challenge and controversy.’

“Here was my opportunity to now do something that was going to turn a tragedy into triumph,” Mr. Batch continued. “Through this horrible story and experience in my life, my foundation was born. It’s truly a blessing to be able to go out there and help others succeed.”

Mr. Batch explained that his achievements could not have happened without three important attributes: preparation, resilience and greatness. He shared a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that inspired him throughout his professional sports career and community activism:  “Do not go where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

In addition to Mr. Batch receiving a Doctorate of Human Letters, other members of the La Roche community were presented with the following awards or honorary degrees at commencement:

The La Roche College Woman of Providence Award

Sister Sandra DeNardis, CDP

Doctor of Business Administration

Joseph F. DiMario

Doctor of Humane Letters

Sister Mary Joan Coultas, CDP, Ph.D.

Richard B. Fisher

Richard G. Kotarba, Esq.

During the ceremony, the College also presented the President’s Awards for Leadership and Scholarship, which are the most prestigious awards offered to undergraduate students of La Roche College. These awards are conferred by President Sister Candace Introcaso to two graduating students: a traditional-aged student and nontraditional-aged student who have exemplary academic records, who exemplify the values and characteristics of the College’s mission statement, and who are effective leaders either on campus, in the workplace, or in the community.

2014 Traditional Recipient:

Jonathan Mancuso of Highland Park, Pa. (originally from Vibo Valentia)

Bachelor of Science

2014 Nontraditional Recipient:

Nicholas Yund of Ross Township, Pa.

Bachelor of Arts


About La Roche College: A private, Catholic, co-educational college north of Pittsburgh founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins and talents. Undergraduates may choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 majors most in demand among today’s college students. La Roche combines a quality educational experience with clubs, athletics, social and community volunteer activities, spiritual well-being and more to prepare students for life in a constantly changing global society.





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