Ceremony honors December graduates
Before he read the names of December 2019 Saint Michael’s College graduates during a short ceremony in the Dion Family Student Center Roy Room Sunday morning, December 8, Jeffrey , the College’s vice president for academic affairs, gave the larger-than-usual winter-graduates group and their families his customary reminder 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 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 from the morning’s program was 34 compared with just 22 last year 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 a large number of family members and friends of the graduates. “On behalf of 20,000-plus 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. 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. Sterritt’s “What I don’t’ know about your time at Saint Michael’s” segment was more tongue-in cheek: for instance, “how many times they had to ask Rosemary in Alliot to let them slide because they forgot an ID,” or how many all-nighters they might have pulled studying for exams — something the president admitted she was familiar with from her own student days. Her “hopes for each and every graduate” included that they “never lose a sense of curiosity” since that is at the center of an active and meaningful and fulfilling life.
She concluded by saying, “may your futures be bright, your hearts be open and your friends be close.” A prayer from Edmundite Fr. Marcel Rainville ‘67 followed the president’s talk to formally bless the gathering.
Scott Quimby and his Sodexo team served up beautiful eggs with spinach and tomatoes, bacon, sausage, pastries and French toast 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 encouraged all to take advantage of alumni connections, volunteer activities and career events including upcoming ones in Boston and New York City this winter. She also reminded them of online technologies for networking, including the Handshake platform and the Linked-In-like SMC Connects.
December graduates recognized at the ceremony — 17 of the 34 listed on the official program were present with their families — were Christopher Bittel, Daniel Bower, Rachel Carey, Brady Channell, Alexander Combs, Kevin Dalton, Cody Flanagan, Lance Gannon, Lauren Giampietro, Abigail Griffin, Sara Henry, Nicholas Hermary, Brittany Johnson, Danielle Joubert, Morgan Joyce, Aaron Kalat, Kayla Kinsley, Andrew Krebsbach, Nush Laywhyee, Devan Leabres-O’Guerin, Chengchen Lin, Tao Lin, Xingyu Liu, Riley Mitiguy, Julia Moorehead, Rusul Mustafa, Claire Mutty, S. Elizabeth Rogers, Isaac Rumpf, Mikayla Sequeira, Shannon Smith, Lauren Walsh, Jessica Ward and Madeline Welch. 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. Rev. Brian Cummings, director of Edmundite Campus Ministry, was principal celebrant and made a special mention of the graduates to welcome them to the liturgy. President Sterritt and her husband, Bert Lain, also attended Mass.
Armour made special mention of a remarkable “alumni legacy” family in attendance for the Dion ceremony (bottom photo here) including winter graduate Shannon Smith ’19 seen here with her siblings Caitlin ’16, Aidan ’17, and Ryan, and parents Kim ’88 and Tom ’88 and her grandparents.
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.”
"May your futures be bright, your hearts be open and your friends be close.”