Compassion Takes Center Stage at 75th Anniversary Alumni Panel
Four Stonehill graduates shared words of wisdom during a discussion held in commemoration of the College’s milestone academic year.
The Joseph W. Martin Institute for Law & Society welcomed several graduates to the McCarthy Auditorium on Wednesday, September 13 for its 75th Anniversary Alumni Panel, moderated by Professor of Criminology Kathleen Currul-Dykeman. The panelists, all of whom have experience working in public service, included Bill Driscoll ’68, Pamerson Ifill ’92, Meghan Kilcoyne ’10 and David Simas ’92.
“Over the past 75 years, Stonehill College has graduated some amazing people,” Currul-Dykeman said. “The alumni network is strong, and finding four individuals with admirable work in law and politics was an easy task. Indeed, there are many more individuals that we could celebrate. That is a testament to what an amazing institution Stonehill College is.”
The speakers not only shared insight into their professional experiences and their time at Stonehill, but also offered advice about treating people with kindness, cultivating relationships and more.
Values That Never Leave You
Bill Driscoll ’68, a retired United States Navy commander who received the Navy Cross (the service’s second-highest decoration), shared a story about a woman whose San Diego home he jogs by every morning. One time, Driscoll noticed that the American flag displayed in front of the house was becoming tattered. Though he did not know her, he took it upon himself to buy the woman a new one and leave it on her doorstep with a note.
A day later, the woman reached out to Driscoll to thank him for the kind gift and revealed that her husband had passed away unexpectedly a few weeks prior. She had not left the house since he died, but hanging the new flag gave her a reason to go outside.
Driscoll noted, “The Greek philosopher Plato said in 457 B.C., ‘Be Kind.’ Everybody’s fighting a tough fight. When you graduate, you leave Stonehill, but the values that you learned at Stonehill never leave you.”
Bloom Where You’re Planted
Pamerson Ifill ’92, the Deputy Commissioner of Pre-Trial Services (a division of the Massachusetts Probation Service) and an adjunct faculty member with Stonehill’s Department of Criminology, encouraged attendees not to chase prestige. Instead, they should focus on being their best selves, no matter where they are or what they are doing.
“Most of us have lofty dreams and ideals, but something I always tell my kids is to bloom where you’re planted, not where you want to grow,” Ifill said.
Opening Doors You Didn't Know Were There
Meghan Kilcoyne ’10, the first woman elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the 12th Worcester District, discussed the importance of seeking out mentors as we work to achieve growth. She recalled the impact of her professional relationship with Claire (McLaughlin) Cronin ’82, the former Massachusetts house majority leader who now serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.
“She took it upon herself to take women legislators under her wing, be a mentor and show us the ropes,” she said. “She opened doors for us we didn’t know were there. When we made the connection that we both went to Stonehill, that strengthened our relationship. She helped me out a lot throughout my first term.”
The Sum Total of Your Character
David Simas ’92, the former White House Director of Political Affairs under President Barack Obama who later served as president and CEO of the Obama Foundation, reminded attendees that their words, actions and thoughts always have consequences.
“Your character is the sum total of all of it,” he said. “There are no freebies. Don’t look at that as something that’s depressing. Don’t look at that as something that’s fixed. You always have a choice to speak kinder words, act in a way that’s more ethical and responsible, think thoughts that are in service of how you carry yourself.”