Monday Morning Update

May 18, 2015

Commencement:  Beautiful weather served as the back-drop for our 64th Commencement yesterday. Before thousands of family, friends, faculty, staff and alumni, 468 students officially received their degrees. Another 30 students participated, those who finished their first year at Notre Dame through our 3+2 program, who completed degrees in September or December or who plan to complete their degrees this September. For a full report, visit here.

Snapshot: For photo highlights from Commencement, visit here.

Big Tent: With the Sports Complex currently undergoing renovation and expansion, the College was without a bad weather back-up for Commencement. That is why the ceremony took place under a giant white tent which accommodates more than 3,700 chairs. In fact, it is the largest tent that BC Tent, the premier tent and party rental company in Massachusetts, has ever installed. Its dimensions were 260 feet x 120 feet and its highest peak 39 feet.

Life’s Ambition: Speaker Ken Feinberg had three pieces of advice for the Class of 2015.  He reminded them that we all confront the unforeseen and no one is immune from misfortune. He cautioned them against equating the perfect job with daily happiness and, echoing President John F. Kennedy, he made the case for the nobility of public service. He also noted, “Your Stonehill degree is a valuable source of pride and encouragement. Cherish it…You have exhibited the type of discipline, maturity and commitment that helps to fuel your life’s ambition." To read his full speech, visit here.   

Honorary Degrees: In addition to Ken Feinberg, the honorees degree recipients 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.

Paths, Passion & Patience: In her remarks, student speaker Abigael Bongaarts ’15 spoke about how, after graduation, she and her classmates can move forward intentionally, carving out their own paths in life, with passion and patience, thanks to all they learned while at the College. To read her full remarks, visit here.

Special Number: When she received her degree, Hayley Conklin ’15 became the 25,000th student to graduate from Stonehill. A political science/international studies and economics double major, Conklin hails from Bloomingdale, N.J., and has already begun working for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Class Gift:  Class President Austin Alfredson ’15 and Vice President Meghan Gotsell ’15 presented the College with an $8,308 class gift. The funds raised through the #5for15 Legacy Campaign will go towards five areas of student life the class deemed most impactful for them: scholarships, HOPE, study abroad, internships and athletics. Thank You, Seniors!

Alumni Forever: Speaking on behalf of the 63 previous classes, Alumni Council President Christine Ferretti ’92 welcomed our newest alumni into the fold, invited them to remain engaged with the College and reminded them that they will be alumni forever.

Sweet Send-Off:  For the past 11 years, the College has been Kissing Seniors Goodbye and that tradition continued on Friday evening 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. This year, the bags also included a special Stonehill edition of the “Game of Life©.” To see what it looks like, visit here.

Irish Blessing: For his concluding remarks, President John Denning, C.S.C. shared an Irish blessing with the graduates: May you have the hindsight to know where you have been, the foresight to know where you are going and the insight to know when you have gone too far. To read his full remarks, visit here.

President’s Dinner: At the May 28 event, Boston Marathon Bombing survivor Heather Abbott ’96 will receive the President’s Award for Excellence. Abbott, who lost a leg in the bombing, will be honored for her resilience in the face of tragedy and for creating the Heather Abbott Foundation which provides prostheses to those who have lost limbs in traumatic circumstances. For more, visit here.

Reunion 2015: Beginning on Friday, May 29, alumni from the classes of 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 along with the Pillar Society will celebrate Reunion 2015 on campus. Over three days, the Alumni Affairs Office expects to welcome more than 600 alumni and their guests to the event. For more, visit here.