Penn State Lehigh Valley announces plans for 2024 commencement

A headshot of CBS Philadelphia News anchor, Jessica Kartalija

Emmy Award-winning CBS Philadelphia News anchor and Penn State alumnus, Jessica Kartalija will serve as the keynote speaker for Penn State Lehigh Valley's Spring 2024 Commencement on May 4, 2024. 

Credit: Jessica Kartalija

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV)’s spring 2024 commencement will be held on May 4, 2024, with CBS News anchor and Penn State alumnus Jessica Kartalija as the featured speaker. The event will be held outdoors on the PSU-LV campus. 

An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Kartalija anchors the 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts at CBS News in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania native was raised in San Diego, California, and returned to the east coast to attend Penn State University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish. While in college, Kartalija completed a semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain, and became fluent in Spanish. She also earned a master's degree in Marketing Communications and Media Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. 

Kartalija joined the Philadelphia-based CBS News team in the fall of 2018 after time spent anchoring the 5:00 news in Baltimore. Since then, she’s become an active member of the community, serving on advisory boards including the Horizons Greater Philadelphia, a camp for children with cancer. She has also worked with the Special Olympics, The House of Ruth Maryland, The Women’s Initiative Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute and was on the Board of Trustees at the Irvine Nature Center. 

“Jessica stood out to me from the beginning," said Rhea Kochhar, ’24, the student representative on the PSU-LV 2024 Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. "In addition to being a tremendous speaker, she’s shown enormous commitment to charitable causes including childhood cancer awareness. As a survivor myself, her story and her show of support is so inspiring. I know she will be equally passionate about her message for our graduating class.” 

Kartalija’s career also extends to Hollywood. The full-time anchor claimed roles in the HBO series “Servant” and “House of Cards” on Netflix, as well as the film “Transformers.” 

“Kartalija’s accomplishments as a journalist, actress, and community leader will serve as incredible inspiration to our students at the 2024 Commencement ceremony,” said PSU-LV Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson. “She is a shining example of the outstanding professionals in their PSU network which includes more than 775,000 alumni worldwide. In addition to her Emmys, her leadership position at CBS and in the community, she remains an accessible advocate and mentor to so many as an instructor. We are so pleased that she accepted her nomination to serve as our keynote this year.” 

Kartalija said she is looking forward to returning to her Penn State roots.

“As a proud Penn Stater, it is such an honor to be invited to speak at commencement. This class of students is just incredible, and I’m so looking forward to celebrating their accomplishments," she said.

Students will be provided six guest tickets for the event, which will be live streamed so additional family and friends can attend virtually. 

For more information, visit the Graduation Information website.