December graduates hear praise for resilience, dedication

President Sterritt says she hopes many among 26 in winter cohort will return in May to join in full pomp and circumstance, as she addresses them alongside faculty, family, friends for small recognition ceremony in Dion Family Student Center

December 13, 2021
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Jeff welcomes

Jeffrey Trumbower, the College’s vice president for academic affairs, welcomes December graduates to Friday’s ceremony. The large photo behind the main headline shows President Sterritt congratulating the group. (photos by Michelle Jordan)

During a small late Friday afternoon recognition ceremony in Dion Family Student Center Roy Room on Dec. 10, Saint Michael’s College President Lorraine Sterritt praised this year’s December graduates for their “sheer persistence during a particularly difficult time.”

The president’s brief remarks were part of a relatively small and short gathering that included many of this year’s 26 winter graduates and a few faculty advisers along with the graduates’ family and friends – all seated and masked around seven large round tables.

Professor Jeffrey Trumbower, vice president for academic affairs, offered a welcome to start the 4 p.m. proceedings by telling those present that this was but “a teaser for our much larger spring ceremony,” to which all the winter graduates are welcome and formally invited. Several indicated their intent to do so. Trumbower later read the names of the graduates and had those in attendance stand  wherever they had been seated to be recognized with applause.

After Trumbower’s welcome, Fr. Michael Carter, S.S.E. ’12 offered a blessing that drew from the Old Testament relating to Solomon and the nature of wisdom. Angela Armour ’99, director for alumni and family relations, congratulated the group on joining the ranks of 21,000 other proud alumni and reminded them that their relationship with Saint Michael continues for the rest of their lives.

“Let us know where you go,” Armour said, urging them to stay involved and seek out alumni events wherever that might be. “My office is here to help you make alumni job connections,” Armour said, emphasizing how enthusiastic most alumni are to help when it comes to giving fellow graduates a step up in the working world. “Remember that your experience was made better by those who went before you,” she said, adding “know that you always have a home here.”

Saint Michael’s December graduate Hana Kibe-Chartier, a biology major from Denver, CO, had some fellow seniors and supportive friends show up to cheer her at Friday’s ceremony. Holding the sign is Jared Barnak, a senior psychology major from Scranton, PA; at left is Kate Bartlett, an elementary education and psychology major from Springfield, MA. (photo by Mark Tarnacki)

Next up, President Sterritt – wearing purple as is her custom for graduation ceremonies large and small, said, “This ceremony lacks the pomp and circumstance of commencement in May, which I certainly hope you’ll attend, but my admiration for you today is unmatched because of your sheer persistence during a particularly difficult time.”

“To arrive here at this celebration of your graduation, you worked so very hard with unwavering commitment, through one of the most challenging and uncertain periods in any of our lifetimes,” she said.  “You didn’t quit; rather, you persevered. You have achieved what you ultimately came here for, through resilience and dedication. You kept your eyes on the prize, and I commend you for that.” The determination and focus these recent graduates have showed will appeal to future employers in any field, she said, promising the full support of the Saint Michael’s community and its resources. “You are a Purple Knight today and a Purple Knight forever,” she said.

These are the December graduates, many of whom also attended Friday’s ceremony (with hometowns in parentheses): Bridget Archambault (Saint Albans, VT), Elena Alexandra Avradopoulos (Northborough, MA), Hengke Chen (Zhoushan, Zhejiang, China), Liam Joseph Clancy (Hinesburg, VT), Nathan Gary Colgrove (Colchester, VT), Vi Courville (Colchester, VT), Brandon Croce (Magnolia, DE), Lillian Marie Denslow (Washington, NH), Allyson May Donnelly (Concord, NH), Grace Fornabia (Saratoga Springs, NY), Bryan Joseph Harper (Islip, NY), Sean Douglas Kerr (South Hero, VT), Hana Kibe-Chartier (Denver, CO), Matthew Tyler Leveroni (Skaneateles, NY), Minkyung Lim (Seoul, South Korea), Ryan McFadden (Saratoga Springs, NY), Colby D. Nadeau (Turner, ME), Abbie Jane O’Connor (South Burlington, VT), Jacob A. Pelletier ’14 of the College’s Institutional Advancement Office, who completed his MAT degree; Kevin Q. Pham (Winooski, VT), Alexandra Valentina Rosales (Caracas, Venezuela), Maxfield Convers Rossignol (Hopkinton, NH), Emily Sancomb (Bath, ME), Nicholas Joseph Sissons. (Medway, MA) Rachael Elisabeth Townsend (Burlington, VT), Zesi Yi (Wuhan, China).

Faculty advisers spotted at the ceremony included Declan McCabe and Ruth Fabian-Fine of biology with several science winter graduates, and Jennifer Purcell of the history faculty with an advisee. Purcell also helped with logistics of the ceremony. Many attendees visited a table of nice refreshments from the College’s Sodexo food service before and after the program.

winter graduates

This year’s December graduates pose together for a photo after Friday’s ceremony.







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