Penn State Harrisburg to hold spring 2024 commencement May 4

First Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Chief Diversity Officer Norman Bristol Colón to serve as keynote speaker
Graphic of lion shrine and graduation cap overlaid in blue
Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg will hold its spring 2024 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4 at 9:30 a.m. at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

A livestream of the commencement ceremony for the benefit of graduates’ family members who may not be able to attend in person will be available. For more ceremony details and the livestream link, visit

First Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Chief Diversity Officer Norman Bristol Colón will serve as keynote speaker at the ceremony.

In 2023, Bristol Colón was appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro as the first chief diversity officer to lead diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion (DEBI) programs across commonwealth agencies. As the chief diversity officer, Bristol Colón partners with cabinet members, senior leaders and employees across the commonwealth to continue to build a capable, accessible, and diverse administration that represents all Pennsylvanians.

Bristol Colón also was the first appointed chief diversity officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

His career in public service includes serving as executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, director of special projects for the Pennsylvania Department of State, assistant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, executive director of the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission, and special assistant to the deputy secretary for Community Affairs and Economic Development.

Bristol Colón is the founder and president of the Pennsylvania Latino Convention, a comprehensive and inclusive initiative creating the statewide agenda for the more than 1.1 million Latinos in the state, covering business and entrepreneurship, education, health, housing, social justice, politics, the environment, civil rights, immigration, workforce training, and leadership/professional development.

A graduate of Penn State, Bristol Colón served in numerous student leadership organizations while a student: president of the Puerto Rican Student Association; junior founder and president of Penn State’s first Hispanic Fraternity Phi Delta Psi Eta; THON Committee; Latino Caucus; and Skull and Bones Senior Honor Society.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including Pennsylvania Person of the Year by Talk Magazine, Torch of Global Enlightenment Award by the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, Central Penn Business Journal’s "40 Under 40," and "Who’s Who 100 Most Influential Latinos in Pennsylvania."

Born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Bristol Colón resides in Lancaster County.

Ashon Calhoun, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, who will receive a bachelor of arts in communications degree at the ceremony, will serve as student speaker for the event.

Calhoun, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, has balanced his school responsibilities with being a sergeant in the Army National Guard.

He began studies at Montgomery County Community College in fall of 2018, and in May 2019, he signed a six-year contract with the Army National Guard. He attended sergeant school, graduating in the top 20 percent of the class, and was selected to represent his class on the Leadership Board and was promoted to sergeant. He completed his studies at Montgomery County Community College in 2022, earning an associate’s degree in psychology.

Calhoun then transferred to Penn State Harrisburg, where he worked in the Office of Student Engagement, participated in intramurals and published poetry and photography in the campus literary magazines. He was selected for a fellowship from the Emma Bowen Foundation, which earned him an internship with Hearst Television at WGAL 8.

He was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success and into the honor society Phi Kappa Phi. He earned the President Walker Award and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, and he was named to the Dean’s List all semesters.

Calhoun, who will also serve as a student marshal at the ceremony, plans to finish his Hearst internship and attend Defense Information School, the Army training school for communications. He hopes to one day work as a creative advertiser using photography and videography.