Duquesne University honored more than 430 members of the Class of 2021 on Friday, Dec. 17, in the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse as the university returned to an in-person Winter Commencement ceremony.
Duquesne students not only learn the skills to build fulfilling careers, but they also discover how their professions can improve the lives of others. Students learn that values like compassion and empathy can foster ingenuity and make them effective problem solvers. They pursue their bigger goals, and some of them have remarkable stories of resilience and impact.
Merecedes Williams, graduate of the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts (Bachelor of Arts degree).
Merecedes Williams’ walk across the Duquesne University graduation stage was 15 years in the making. In addition to being the local “Movie Scene Queen,” Pittsburgh Public Schools media manager and New Pittsburgh Courier movie critic and freelance reporter, Williams has faced a fire, homelessness, financial hardship, and a personal battle with COVID while raising three children. Nevertheless, the very determined Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in multiplatform journalism.
More than 30 family members and friends—including Mayor-elect Ed Gainey—attended Commencement to cheer and applaud Williams’ longtime efforts.
Williams has written numerous articles for the Courier, and has won awards from the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association as one of the top writers in the state.
To read more of her articles that have appeared in the Courier, visit