Franklin Pierce University Celebrates Students Success at 56th Commencement

May 15, 2021

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Graduates of the Class of 2021, members of the Class of 2020, faculty and staff gathered on Saturday, May 15, 2021, to celebrate the 56th Commencement at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. President Kim Mooney ’83 welcomed all the graduates as well as families, friends, alumni, members of the Board of Trustees and honored guests viewing the ceremony via livestream from home.

President Mooney also noted that today’s ceremony is yet another 'first' in the University’s 15-month effort to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and proceed with caution and grace to complete this academic year in a safe and fulfilling way. “I congratulate you on your academic and personal accomplishments throughout your education at Franklin Piece and on earning your degrees, from the doctorate to the associates. Today, you will take more significant steps at Franklin Pierce as you walk across the stage this morning. You will join me as a proud alum of this University,” she shared.


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As part of this year’s ceremony, President Mooney awarded one honorary degree and presented the Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award.

The Honourable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright ’01, B.A., J.P., M.P. of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Cartwright graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in English with a minor in History from Franklin Pierce University, where he also holds the distinction as the first person of color to serve as Chairman of the University’s Judicial Board. During his time as a student, he also received the prestigious President’s Award for Leadership and Contribution and was named a New England Collegiate Conference Academic Scholar-Athlete for Men’s Basketball. From 2000-2001, Cartwright was an Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach for the University. In his pre-recorded remarks, Minister Cartwright brought greetings and congratulations to the graduates, reflecting on the immediate impact his Franklin Pierce experience as he journeyed up University Drive for the first time, and how his time spent on the Rindge campus shaped his future success. “But today is not about me,” he shared, “it’s about you, the illustrious and inspiring Class of 2021. It is a moment to celebrate your individual and collective academic excellence.”

The 2021 Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award was bestowed on former Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr., who served on the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 1995-2010, first as an Associate Justice and then as Chief Justice from 2004-2010. In addition to his distinguished law career, Broderick has also been a vocal mental health advocate in the region and helped New Hampshire become the first State to join the Change Direction Campaign, a national initiative to change the culture of mental health in America.

Chief Justice Broderick shared with graduates and their families his words of congratulations and expressed his appreciation to be honored as the 2021 Peterson Citizen Leader Award. Chief Justice Broderick went on to speak about his distinguished law career and also candidly shared details of the mental health challenges that his family has faced. He noted that his work to change the conversation around mental health has become ‘the most important work he has ever done’.

“Don’t assume that what you want to be or do is your purpose,” he shared. “A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives. This is why we continue to honor Walter Peterson. Your purpose may not come until you’re 67, but if you’re lucky, it will come.”

The University was proud to confer 556 degrees, including 83 doctoral, 110 master’s, 356 bachelor’s and seven associate’s degrees. Every degree represents a unique story, with an individual path to success.

For some, graduation came a bit earlier than originally expected. Jenna Cimbron, a graduate from Bristol, R.I., completed her health sciences bachelor’s degree in just three years. A member of the women’s lacrosse team at Franklin Pierce, she still has a year of athletic eligibility remaining with the NCAA. As such, Cimbron will be sticking in Rindge in 2021-2022 to play lacrosse and begin pursuing her master’s in health administration at the University. “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Franklin Pierce so far; I’m excited to be getting my undergraduate degree, but even more excited for the chance to continue my studies and conclude my lacrosse career,” said Cimbron. “I’m looking forward to coming back in the fall and getting after it!”

President Mooney bid farewell to the graduates, “with great pride as your President and your fellow alum," officially welcoming them in to the Franklin Pierce University Alumni Association, joining the over 27,000 fellow ravens. "We will always want to know how you are and where you are. You will always be welcome here," she closed.

A recording of the Commencement Ceremony and photos from the event will be available for viewing at

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