May 22, 2011
A total of 603 students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas at Stonehill's 60th Commencement on Sunday, May 21. The weather may have been a little chilly for this time of year but it didn't deter any smiles from the members of the Class of 2011, along with their families who proudly looked on. Keynote speaker Mary Richardson told this year's class to never be afraid to dream and strive for excellence. She assured them of how lucky they were to be a part of the Stonehill family and that the achievement of obtaining their degrees is something no one can ever take away from them.
Prior to her speech, Richardson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for her work not only as a groundbreaking newscaster, but also for her dedication to service. To read Richardson's citation, visit here.
Joining Richardson as this year's honorary degree recipients were local education leader Manthala "Matt" George Jr. '62, Broadway director Robert Ruggiero '83, and employee management expert Brother Herman Zaccarelli, C.S.C.
George was awarded an honorary Doctor of Education degree for his many achievements as a Stonehill alumnus, most notably his work in the Brockton Public School System. To read George's citation, visit here.
The first graduate of Stonehill's Theater Arts Program, Ruggiero was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. While enjoying a bustling career as a Broadway director, he has remained dedicated to his alma mater, actively supporting the work of the Stonehill Theater Arts Program and its students. To read Ruggiero's citation, visit here.
Zaccarelli was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree for his commitment to the Holy Cross mission of hospitality. Through his work as a leader in the hospitality industry, he has taught others the path to success. To read Zaccarelli's citation, visit here.
A special Citation of Commitment to Life-Long Learning was awarded to the late Walter Wilson, who had been taking classes at Stonehill for over 15 years. He passed away last April at the age of 88 and was just eight courses away from completing his degree in Humanities. Wilson's wife, Alice, accompanied by daughters Eileen (Wilson) Zuffante '01, Kathleen Wilson Goyette, and other members of the Wilson family, accepted the citation on behalf of her husband.
In her Commencement address, Richardson wove in memorable stories from her "Chronicle" days with sound advice for the Class of 2011. Declaring she was here to tell the truth, she candidly told the graduates no one listens to graduation speeches.
"Years later you will have difficulty recalling a single world that is spoken here today. You may even have difficulty remembering who spoke," said Richardson, who joked she was eager to have the Class of 2011 one day tell their grandchildren, "how Diane Sawyer spoke at your graduation!"
In speaking about the tough economy this year's graduates' face, Richardson said "there will always be external events to worry about but that's why it's so important to have your own internal compass. We cannot change the world around us but we can change ourselves."
She went on to tell them that "no matter how many resumes you send out, no matter how many interviews come to nothing, do not allow yourself to get discouraged."
Ending with a quote from her hero Harvard Professor and author Robert Coles, Richardson said: "Let us try to be good to one another. Be good friends. Work well with one another on behalf of others. And let us try to make our country better every day, each one of us in the way we live our lives." To read excerpts from Richardson's speech, visit here.
In his address to his fellow classmates, Eamon Bencivengo '11 spoke of his personal journey at Stonehill and the many "graduations" he has experienced throughout his four years, including those in "responsibility," "human diversity," "courage," and human resilience."
"Receiving our diplomas on this day stands as a physical reminder of all the graduations we have had at Stonehill prior to this moment and all the graduations we will have in the future," he said. To read the stories behind Bencivengo's multiple degrees, visit here for text of his full speech.
Senior Class President Matt Gorman announced record participation in this year's Legacy Campaign, which will be used to support the new Farm at Stonehill. A total of 102 members from the senior class donated $7,260 towards a Class tree, meditation garden, washing station, scale, and other equipment for the Farm. To read more about the new Farm at Stonehill, visit here.
Alumni Council President Cathy Campbell '96 asked alumni in attendance to stand up in welcoming the Class of 2011 as the newest members of the Alumni Association, which now totals over 23,000. "You have been Stonehill students for the last four years. Today, we welcome you as alumni forever," said Campbell.
In his closing remarks, President Mark Cregan, C.S.C. '78 told the graduates today was the beginning of the next moments of their lives.
"Today as we celebrate with you, the Class of 2011, we also recognize that what you have experienced here and the processes you have used to get where you are today will hopefully be the genius, the beginning, of a life-long learning process."
"You've achieved many things...you have learned much, you have offered much, and you have experienced much as you have engaged our world. The lesson I hope you take away from this experience here at Stonehill is that you will continue to engage the world, you will continue to learn about yourself, you will continue to grow in age and in wisdom and in grace, and you will allow those experiences to form you and make you the best person you can be, in every sense of that word," Cregan said.
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