Graduates and honorees shine at 54th Commencement

May 20, 2019

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Graduates of the Class of 2019, parents, faculty and guests gathered in the glorious sunshine on Saturday, May 18, 2019 to celebrate the 54th Commencement at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. President Kim Mooney ’83 welcomed all, and paid special tribute to ten members of the Class of 1969 who were on hand to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the University’s first full commencement exercises in 1969. 

Valedictorian for the College of Rindge Eileen Savinelli ’19 praised Franklin Pierce faculty for “prioritizing our intellectual growth over our grades.” She reminded her classmates that they would all go forward to be educators in some capacity, and she challenged them to pursue opportunities for genuine learning throughout their lives.

President Mooney and Provost James W. DuMond, Jr. awarded honorary degrees to a visionary New England business leader and two mayors of cities that are home to Franklin Pierce University graduate and professional studies centers beyond the Rindge campus.

Joyce H. Craig, the 48th mayor of Manchester, NH and the first woman to hold the office, received a Doctor of Public Administration in recognition of her efforts to improve employment and quality of life in the state’s largest city through collaboration with businesses and universities. Mayor Craig told graduates, “I lost my first election by 64 votes - your vote counts. And if you’re prepared to work hard, life has a way of turning ‘no’ to ‘yes’!”  

Mayor Georgia T. Lord of Goodyear, AZ, received a Doctor of Public Administration in honor of the impact of her energy and vision on the people and sustainable future of one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Mayor Lord is admired for her ability to build relationships and build community. “At a time when electronic devices are so heavily relied on, I want to remind you to be present,” Mayor Lord told graduates. “Let people see your face, hear your words, hear your thoughts.”

Publisher James R. Trowbridge, president and CEO of Yankee Publishing in Dublin, NH received a Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his leadership transforming a venerable family-owned business into a 21st century media enterprise. Mr. Trowbridge said, “Americans are essentially revolutionaries – we root for the new business that’s going to disrupt the dinosaur. But it takes just as much energy and innovation to sustain a business as it does to start one. Change is not optional - you have to adapt. In addition to adapting, you have to persist.”

The Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award was presented to Martha R. Pappas, Ed.D., writer, educator, and philanthropist who has spent her life working to improve the health, education, and well-being of young people and their families in communities throughout New England. She sent a message to the gathered crowd: “Your most precious resource that you have is time. Use it in ways that enrich the communities where you live, anywhere you find the community fit to be right and honest.”

The University was proud to confer 518 degrees, including 89 doctoral, 99 master’s, 317 bachelor’s and 13 associate’s degrees. Every degree represents a unique story, with an individual path to success.

New graduate Molly Miller finished her degree program with a B.S. in Health Science, summa cum laude, and will spend the summer preparing to apply to medical school. She was active in the Air Force Reserves while fulfilling requirements for the Honors Program. “I wouldn’t think of going anywhere but Franklin Pierce – my faculty were always willing to help, and the small class sizes were amazing.”

Parents shared their pride in their graduates’ accomplishments. Pascual Moreno of Los Angeles, CA was emotional when he spoke of the transformation in his son Demitri Moreno, who came to Franklin Pierce because of football and leaves as a history scholar, with great friends and connections to faculty who are truly invested in his success.

Commencement offers online students a special opportunity to connect with the peers they have collaborated with, sometimes over years of study. Jen Hannux and Karen Cote, graduates from the Master of Science in Nursing program, were surprised and delighted to learn that they live in the same small town in Vermont, after working on projects together over the past three years. Hannux will use her degree to advance into nursing management while Cote has been able to take on a teaching role with her coursework in nursing education.

President Mooney bid farewell to the Class of 2019 saying, “As a student in pursuit of your educational goals at Franklin Pierce, there were times when you certainly worked in isolation, but you were never alone. This will still be true for you as an alum of this institution. We are forever connected to one another and to Franklin Pierce, this incredibly special university.”

View the archived Live Webcast of the 2019 Commencement Exercises, courtesy of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. 

You can also view all photos of the 2019 Commencement Exercises

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