How does one say "Thank you" in Oshiwambo? When Fulbright scholar Kaunapawa Nangula M'12 addressed the 4,000 guests assembled at this year's commencement, she thanked Saint Michael's and its students in her native language, and then in a dozen more. This was the first year that Commencement included an address not only by an undergraduate (this year, Michael McKinney '12), but also by a master's graduate. (Nangula is an MATESOL graduate and Fulbright Scholar from Namibia.)
At this year's ceremonies, held on May 14, the graduates also heard remarks from President John J. Neuhauser, Chairman of the Board of Trustees William Gallagher, and media pioneer and MTV founder Tom Freston '67. In a genial, wise and thoughtful reflection, Freston recounted the risks he took, as well as the chance opportunities and good luck, that led him to his rewarding career, and he encouraged graduates to listen to themselves and to the footsteps of the future.
Alexandra Gadway '12, an art and French major, was honored as the Class of 2012 valedictorian, with a 3.990 GPA. Elizabeth "Sunny" Masison '12, a Spanish and history major, and Christopher Santoriello, a French and political science major, earned top honors as the Katherine Fairbanks and Father Prevel Memorial Award winners. In all, 468 students received their bachelor's diplomas and another 65 earned master’s degrees.
Tom Freston '67 received an honorary degree, as did Sister Lindora Cabral, RSM, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Northeast Community; Major General Michael Dubie, Adjutant General of the State of Vermont; and Rev. Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, professor of New Testament at Boston College, all pictured above with sponsors Rev. Brian Cummings, SSE '86, Michael McGrath, Bill Gallagher, President Jack Neuhauser, Professor Emeritus Bill Wilson and Rev. Michael Cronogue, SSE.
Tom Freston '67 - He was sitting in Cheray Science Hall on his 18th birthday when Tom Freston '67 heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. That was the day, he said, that the '60s culturally began. That spirit of change has marked Freston's life. Forty-five years after he graduated, Freston returned to Saint Michael's to address the 468 undergraduates and 65 graduates receiving their degrees. He recounted his remarkable career with MTV Networks and Viacom, which led to his induction in the Television Hall of Fame in 2011, and about the role that luck, as well as optimism and mindfulness, plays in success. "A great life consists of many great chapters. Be sure to have them," he counseled.