Watched by viewers around the world, a candid video shot during Stritch 2015 commencement ceremony hit the 100,000-views mark, and the tally of views continues to climb by about 150 views per day.




Documenting a Skype conversation between an international student from Brazil and his mother at home, the video shows Dönnerssön Penna, ’15, carrying his cell phone through line and on stage with him as he accepts his diploma. The five-minute recording, shot by his girlfriend’s father from across the arena, captures an endearing conversation between mother and son as he introduces her to people along the way, including University President Dr. James Loftus.



“I am not going to lie, I was really impressed by how many people saw this video,” said Penna, reacting to the 100,000 views and the barrage of kind comments from people he has never met. “When I made this video I only wanted to show my mother how my graduation would be, and this video ended up opening so many doors for me.”



The video led not only to a lot of attention on social media once it was posted on YouTube, but then to a story in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. He included the story link on his LinkedIn networking page, on Facebook, and on his résumé, which led to job offers and opportunities he believes he might not otherwise have received.


“Right after the article in the Catholic Herald, a lot of people reached out to me,” Penna said. “That’s how I got my first job offer as soon as I graduated.”


Penna now works as a business development manager at Diamond Residential Mortgage on the outskirts of Chicago. The company sponsored his visa application, which will be processed this summer. He hopes to settle in the United States.



In the summer 2015 issue of Stritch Magazine, Penna also participated in a story about the University’s international students. Watch a video and read a bit more about him in this feature.