Commencement 2015

May 17, 2015


On Sunday, May 17, 498 students participated in Stonehill's 64th Commencement ceremony in which Attorney Ken Feinberg served as the keynote speaker.  Feinberg, who has managed the compensation funds for some of America’s most horrific tragedies, spoke about the unexpectedness of life and the true meaning of happiness.

“Do not assume that the path you choose today will turn out to be your life’s pursuit,” said Feinberg. “There is much more to life than the never ending search for the next job, the next raise in pay, the ability to pay country club dues, send your children to private school, and own a second automobile. Your Stonehill degree is a better reflection of your overall happiness, your diverse interests, wordliness, your principles and values. What I call your ‘happiness quotient.’”

Feinberg, who hails from nearby Brockton, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his pro bono work in helping to resolve America's most challenging, tragic and widely-known disputes. To read his citation, visit here.

Feinberg also encouraged Stonehill’s graduates to continue their service work. “Each of you Stonehill graduates has an obligation to give back to the community, to reestablish a sense of national optimism, to make a difference- just what President Kennedy exemplified,” said Feinberg.

“Bask in the glory of what you have accomplished, and get ready for tomorrow. Our nation has a vested stake in you. Your personal happiness and success, your determination to make out a life while helping your fellow citizens, benefit all of us. And benefit the United States of America,” Feinberg concluded. To read his full speech, visit here.

Walker, Strecker and McNamee Receive Honorary Degrees

Also receiving honorary degrees at the ceremony were Emmy award-winning journalist and humanitarian Rev. Elizabeth “Liz” Walker, Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Professor Robert Strecker and Catholic Social Services Executive Director Arlene McNamee ’68.

As the first African-American woman to co-anchor a Boston newscast and the winner of two Emmy Awards, Walker’s journalism career is legendary. Since retiring from the anchor desk, Walker has gone on to serve others through her ministry and humanitarian work. For that, the College honored her with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.  To read her citation, visit here.

An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Physiology and Behavior Section of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, Strecker was awarded a Doctor of Science degree. To read his citation, visit here.

Instrumental to the success of Stonehill’s Neuroscience Program which has grown from just two students in 2006 to more than 70 students today, Strecker has provided cutting edge research opportunities for Stonehill students working in his lab, which focuses on sleep-related topics.

McNamee, who graduated from Stonehill in 1968, has directed Catholic Social Services (CSS) since 1994. Operating within the boundaries of the Diocese of Fall River, CSS provides over 30 programs and services to those in need and is the largest provider of social and human services in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Through her work with CSS, McNamee has improved the lives of children and the homeless throughout the region. For that, the College honored her with a Doctor of Humanities degree. To read her citation, visit here.

Carving Your Way Forward

In addressing her classmates, Abigael Bongaarts '15 spoke about how, after graduation, they can move forward intentionally, carving out their own paths in life, thanks to all they learned while at the College.

“I hope we are able to use what we’ve learned at Stonehill to create our own paths, with passion and patience, taking into account what we value, who we love and how we want to live,” said Bongaarts. To read her full speech, visit here.

Class President Austin Alfredson ’15 and Vice President Meghan Gotsell ’15 presented President John Denning, C.S.C. with the senior class gift. Through their #5for15 campaign, the Class of 2015 raised $8,308.

Newest Alumni

Alumni Council President Christine Ferretti ’92 welcomed the Class of 2015 as Stonehill’s newest alumni. During the conferring of the degrees, it was announced that Hayley Conklin ’15 became the College’s 25,000th graduate.

“You have been a part of Stonehill’s family as students for the past four years- we now welcome you into the Stonehill Family as alumni forever,” said Ferretti.

In concluding the ceremony, President Denning noted the service outreach of the honorary degree recipients and he praised the Class of 2015 for how they worked to make Stonehill a better college.

“These individuals, as do our graduates, embody the call to service which is so central to Stonehill’s educational mission,” said President Denning, who closed by reciting an Irish blessing:

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far.
To read President’s full remarks, visit here.

Commencement 2015 By The Numbers

-498 students participated in Commencement- this includes September 2014, December 2014 & May 2015 graduates , and those completing their first year at Notre Dame through the 3+2 Program.

- 468 students officially earned their degrees

-485 degrees were conferred as 17 of the 468 students earned double degrees

- Degree Breakdown: 302 Bachelor of Arts degrees, 83 Bachelor of Science degrees, and 100 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees.

-Latin Honors Breakdown: 8 summa cum laude (3.90 or above GPA), 78 magna cum laude (3.70 – 3.89 GPA), 78 cum laude (3.50 - 3.69 GPA)