Class Spirit: Despite the threat of wind and rain, the weather held yesterday for the largest Commencement in Stonehill history, which saw a record attendance as family and friends packed the Quad to celebrate with 678 students who participated in the event. Plus, it was a lively and on schedule ceremony with many shout outs from the audience. As President John Denning, C.S.C. put it, the Class of 2016 has a lot of “spirit.”
Big Number: In another record yesterday, the College graduated its 26,000th student, Kelsey Sullivan, a health sciences interdisciplinary major from South Boston.
Snapshots: For photo highlights from Commencement, visit here.
Forgiveness: In her Commencement address, Sr. Helen Prejean reflected on the theme of forgiveness. Dedicated to prison ministry, the author of Dead Man Walking reminded the graduates that forgiveness is about “saving our own lives, not letting the love inside of us be overcome by the evil. That’s grace.”
Mercy: In his remarks yesterday, President John Denning, C.S.C. spoke about mercy, a major theme for Pope Francis. Fr. John noted that the Pope’s focus reminds us of the “importance of patience, understanding, forbearance, forgiveness and kindness....Given that our mission is to educate both the mind and the heart and to make our world more just and compassionate, the Pope’s emphasis on mercy resonates strongly with us.”
Perseverance: The members of the senior class were so impressed by the example of their classmate, Matt Brown and the courage he has shown in dealing with a life-altering injury that they created a Perseverance Scholarship in his name as their class gift. In addition, they succeed in raising a record $58,000+ in support of the Matt Brown Perseverance Scholarship, close to three times more than the previous highest class gift total. This year’s reunion class, the Class of 1966 also pitched in by selecting the scholarship as their reunion fundraising project.
Awareness: In her remarks, student speaker, Elveera Lacina explored the topic of awareness and how it is the first step towards creating fuller relationships with ourselves, others and the wider community. And, for her, the key to real awareness is the ability to ask probing questions and, in turn, to be good listeners as well.
Alumni Forever: Speaking on behalf of the 64 previous classes, Alumni Council President Christine Ferretti ’92 greeted our newest alumni as follows: “When you walked on campus four years ago, you became part of Stonehill’s family as students...today, we welcome you into the Stonehill family as alumni forever.”
Honorees: In addition to giving the Commencement address, Sr. Helen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for her commitment to standing side-by-side with those who are outcasts in our society. Fellow honoree J. Keith Motley, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his educational leadership and his commitment to access. Fellow honoree Steven Greene, Chairman of W. B. Mason, received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree for his business success and commitment to community.
Goodbye Kisses: For the past 13 years, the College has been Kissing Seniors Goodbye and that tradition continued on Friday at the annual pre-Commencement Senior BBQ and Slideshow. These kisses, however, are not physical but chocolate ones, and they are presented in purple goodie bags individually bagged and prepared by Student Alumni Association volunteers. The bags contain notes of congratulations and encouragement from family, faculty, classmates and friends.
Round Up: For a more comprehensive Commencement report, visit here.