Class of 2018 Shines on Rainy Commencement Day

May 15, 2018

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Graduates, parents, faculty and guests braved the cold and rain to celebrate the 53rd Commencement at Franklin Pierce University on Saturday, May 12, 2018. The University awarded 581 doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, and three special guests received honorary degrees and awards. The day was filled with family, friends and alumni of the university who celebrated the occasion with the new graduates.  

Ceremonies began with an invocation by Reverend Bill Beardslee, the national anthem performed by CeCe Telfer, and a greeting to new alumni from Steven Camerino, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. President Kim Mooney ‘83 welcomed graduates by reminding them of the best qualities of the bird that represents Franklin Pierce University. “Ravens are the smartest of birds, adaptable, empathetic, cooperative and playful.” She highlighted these qualities in the engaged and close-knit Franklin Pierce community and offered her congratulations.

Valedictorian for the College of Professional Studies Joshua Mercer ’18 shared his advice with the Class of 2018. “Use your education to be vehicles for a positive change. Be inclusive, ask questions, be curious and never forget the relationships we built as we came together to accomplish a common goal.”

Despite the gloomy day, Valedictorian for the College at Rindge Eric Conte ’18 shared positive energy and reflected, “I’ve always felt a sense of belonging on campus during all my four years at FPU, because of the close-knit community feel.”

Honorary degrees were awarded by Dr. Mooney and Provost James Dumond, Jr. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash received an honorary degree in recognition of her contribution to the nation through her outstanding diligence and adherence to the truth in her reporting of the news. Bash encouraged graduates to be ambitious, but not overly calculating. “I started out in the tape library at CNN - I learned patience and to seek out mentors.” She added, “Love what you do, first because you are going to spend a lot of time doing it, and second because passionate and engaged professionals are better at what they do.”

Leader Bank founder and CEO Sushil Tuli also received an honorary degree for his extraordinary impact on his New England community through his entrepreneurial spirit, his  community-minded lending and banking practices, and his generosity that inspires others. In his remarks, Tuli reflected, “I started Leader Bank in 2002, at a time when small community banks were being taken over by big financial institutions. People said ‘you’ll never make it,’ but I did.” Tuli’s advice to graduates: “Be a leader, not a follower - there’s less competition!”

The Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award was presented to Northeast Delta Dental President and CEO Tom Raffio. This award recognizes his outstanding leadership of business and nonprofit communities, with humility, professionalism and a sense of humor. In the spirit of the award, Raffio began with a tribute to the smiles he saw on the graduates. “I see your parents have been using their Delta Dental insurance!” He went on to offer some advice for a successful life: make other people’s lives better, be healthy, be a role model, be a servant leader and say thank you.

Graduates from the Class of 2018 eagerly waited for their time to shine before walking on to the stage. History major, Public History minor and Women in Leadership Certificate recipient Amy Driscoll said, “I am very excited, I can’t believe that four years have gone by. I am delighted to move on to whatever is next, but hope to come back and visit as often as I can.”

Sharon Fredette of Amherst, NH took her place in line, proud to have earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing through the University’s online program. With two teenage children and a husband who travels frequently, Sharon worked hard to achieve her goal of completing her degree by the age of 50. She was recently promoted at her job at Child and Family Services in Manchester, which she attributes to her commitment to getting her degree.

Receiving his Bachelor of Arts in music, Brandon Desmond credits retired Music professor David Brandis with helping him develop the confidence to grow as a musician over his four years at Franklin Pierce. Brandon will return to Wells, ME to continue work on his fantasy series, Legends of Diamonia.

Master of Business Administration students Scott Osatile of Nashville, TN and Christina Paton of Attleboro, MA shared impressions of their online program. “Attending an online class means you have to be even more prepared,” reflected Christina. “You have to be really engaged to express your thoughts when you post. Professors remember what you posted in previous weeks and refer back to it.”

Family members Marcie, Bill and Justin Sauer from Thousand Oaks, CA were thrilled to share the day with Dylan Sauer DPT ’18. Dylan’s family has supported him every step of the way - his father drove him across country for move-in, his mother attended to him in Manchester through a medical crisis, and his brother drove him to his internship in Colorado. Fellow classmates Lauren Anderson DPT ’18 and Alex Morra DPT ’18, will be married in Charleston, SC in June, before they head out West in their remodeled trailer to begin work as a mobile physical therapy team.

President Mooney bid farewell to the graduates saying, “With great pride as your President and fellow alum, it is my distinct honor to welcome you into the Franklin Pierce University Alumni Association. Over 20,000 graduates of Franklin Pierce University also enthusiastically welcome you as individuals and as a graduating class into this alumni network. We are forever connected to each other and to Franklin Pierce University, this special University, our alma mater. You are always welcome here, and we will always want to know how you are.”

View more pictures from the 2018 Commencement Ceremony

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