Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be here today to represent the over 29,000 alumni of Stonehill College – including those participating in the procession this afternoon. In May, representatives from the Alumni Council will join the members of the Class of 2023 at Commencement as they become proud Stonehill graduates. 

But don’t let me rush you into that status. Those of you in the class of 2023 should enjoy your senior year, relishing upper-level courses in your major, taking on leadership positions in the student body, and transitioning to careers or post-graduate study. Today, Stonehill presents you with the senior class pin.  Wear it today—and again on your robe at Commencement—as a symbol of your academic accomplishment and personal development over four years at Stonehill. 

Today we also give special recognition to members of the Class of 2026. I’d personally like to welcome you to Stonehill!  Like those here from the senior class, I know from personal experience just how exciting it is to be launching a college career—and just how much you have to look forward to over the next four years. Stonehill sees you as so much more than just a student. They see the whole person and provide opportunities to broaden your horizon such as volunteering and community outreach. Take advantage of the opportunities provided to you. Trust me when I tell you that you will make lifelong friends here who will be with you through life’s ups and downs and who will support you in everything you do. You are the Class of 2026, and your first-year pin serves as a reminder of the collective identity you have as a class—even though we know you will distinguish yourself as individuals. Wear it today as a reminder of the community you have joined.  To you, the Class of 2026, I would offer this final piece of advice. Speak to the seniors and listen to their stories, I’ve met some of them and the stories are fascinating.    

I also want to welcome the transfer students who have joined our community. The advice I just gave to the first-year class holds true for you as well. You have joined a wonderful community and we are very happy you are here. You will receive the class pin for your class year, and, of course, a senior pin when you enter your final year. And to all returning sophomores and juniors who have joined us today: welcome back!  

All seniors and first year students should have received their pins today prior to the procession except for Emily G. Hartford, Class of 2023 President, and Stephen Cobbs, the Convocation Student Speaker, to whom I will now present pins. As you accept these pins, please also accept my best wishes to the Class of 2023 for academic success and personal achievement as you both begin your final year as Stonehill College students. 

Please join me in recognizing the Class of 2023, the Class of 2026 and all transfer students with applause. 

Thank you for inviting me to be with you today as you begin the academic year.