The large photo shows President Sterritt addressing graduates and their supporters during Sunday's ceremony. Directly above, she poses with Rania Goncalves after presenting her with a gift. Images below show the President's table, with Jeffrey Trumbower in the background along with Angela Armour at the podium and Sterritt's husband, Bert Lain, Fr. Lino Oropeza and students also in view; further below, Sterritt congratulates graduate Kaleigh Fallon; and, an in-close shot of the gifts that were later presented to each graduate participating. (photos by Mark Tarnacki)
Before he read the names of December 2018 Saint Michael’s College graduates during a short ceremony in the Dion Family Student Center Roy Room Sunday morning, Jeffrey Trumbower, the College’s acting vice president for academic affairs, reminded the dozen attending graduates of their “special privilege.”
“They don’t’ get a breakfast or a gift!” he said to laughs, referring to the hundreds of May graduates. “So you’re very special!” As Trumbower went on to read the names of the Winter graduates group from the podium, President Lorraine Sterritt offered each congratulations and a handshake, and presented a gift of attractive high-end Saint Michael’s note cards in a decorative box.
The total number of December graduates is 22, and all are invited to return in May to march with their classmates, said Master of Ceremonies Angela Armour ’99, director of alumni and parent relations, who addressed a full room that included parents and friends of the graduates along with faculty advisers and staff supporters.
“On behalf of 20,000 alumni I am pleased to welcome you graduates to the ranks of alumni," she said to applause.
In short and well-received pre-meal remarks after Armour’s greeting, the president told the group that she wanted first to pause and thank parents, family members and friends who helped inspire their students along the way. “Without their material and inspirational support, I suspect, some of you would not be here today,” she said as the assembly offered extended applause
Sterritt framed her talk by sharing “what I know, what I don’t know and what I hope for each of you.” She said that she knew each graduate had grown intellectually, has the skills and talent (and now the degree) to find meaningful work, had experienced what it means to uplift others, and had stepped out of a comfort zone and challenged himself or herself.
“Part of your journey here was about experiencing entirely new things and understanding more about yourself and others as you did it,” she said. Sterritt’s “What I don’t’ know about your time at Saint Michael’s” segment was more tongue-in cheek: for instance, referencing the beloved veteran senior associate dean of students Lou DiMasi (who handles disciplinary matters but also greatly supports and checks in on students) the president said she didn’t know “how many times Lou DiMasi paid you a visit” for a talk …. or how many all-nighters they pulled … or how many times they had to ask Rosemary in Alliot to let them slide because they forgot an ID … or how many times they wrote on the glass windows in Dion -- “I know, creative urges are hard to resist – I get it,” she joked, recalling an all-nighter from her student days that involved a typewriter and correcting tape.
Her “hopes for each and every graduate” included: that they “never lose a sense of curiosity,” that they “find all the success their hearts desire,” and that they stay connected to friends, professors, staff and the College. “We have shared your journey with you, and we want to know how you are doing, and what you are doing, and if we can still help, we’ll be there for you.”
She concluded by saying, ‘may your futures be bright, your hearts be open and your friends be close.”
A prayer from Edmundite Fr. Lino Oropeza ’11 followed the president’s talk. He asked that God provide graduates with “wisdom and clear direction in their lives” and that “You open doors that need to be opened and close every one that should be shut tight… and that you will remind them every day how very much you love them.” He further prayed that God give the graduates “joy to fill their days, courage to face challenges before them with confidence, and peace that can only come from your Spirit.”
Scott Quimby and his Sodexo team served up beautiful eggs with spinach and tomatoes, bacon, sausage, pastries and waffles with coffee and juice.
Armour took a few moments after the meal to remind grads that their relationship with the College is for a lifetime – she noted a member of the Class of ’52, Bill Keogh, present to support his grandson, Noah Keogh, among the graduates. She encouraged all to take advantage of alumni connections, volunteer activities and career events including upcoming ones in Boston on January 8, 2018 and New York City on January 10. She also reminded them of online technologies for networking, including the Handshake platform and the Linked-In-like SMC Connects, which has “over 1,300 users and is growing daily.”
December graduates recognized at the ceremony were Jennifer Brady, Paige Bulson, Kaleigh Fallon, Noah Keogh, Emily Kopacz, Dagmar Charity Lee Wright, Rania Goncalves, Ryan Londregan, Sarah Rodgers, Edward Seeger, Michele Sende Nzimbou and Erin Williams. Many went after the Dion ceremony to the Chapel with their families for 11 a.m. Sunday Mass, sitting together in a special front section. President Sterritt and her husband, Bert Lain, also attended Mass.
Other December graduates, though not present, were Abigail Adams, Michael Bureau, Mary Rose Carolan, Monty Weller, Victoria Los, Charlotte McGrath, Veronica Raleigh, Stephen Salois, Lauren Stone and Jacob Thompson.
Faculty advisers attending were Jeffrey Ayres, Vince Bolduc, Christina Chant, Richard Kujawa, Jennifer Paone-Vogt, Ray Patterson, Karen Popovich, Christina Root, Trish Siplon and Tom Van Dzura.
Trumbower noted that the students from the ceremony still must complete their finals week this week -- “but I’m sure you won’t have anything to worry about.”