Commencement ceremonies send off Suffolk graduates

June 1, 2019

From the Patriots crossing through Suffolk’s campus raising the Lombardi Trophy, to Marissa Kelly being named the university’s 11th president and the addition of the Samia Academic Center to campus, the class of 2019 saw it all by the time they crossed the stage at graduation.

2,137 Suffolk University graduates gathered at the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion to receive their degrees in a three part ceremony on Sunday, May 19. Friends, family, fellow classmates and professors celebrated alongside the graduates.

The Sawyer Business School (SBS) Commencement kicked off shortly after 9 a.m.

Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly was unfortunately unable to attend the festivities due to a death in her family, but Acting Provost Sebastian Royo spoke on her behalf, noting that “our hearts are with her.”

Royo congratulated the class for the long hours and hard work they put forth in order to earn their degrees. He also commended the graduates for logging over 30,000 hours of community service.

Malik Richard, the Sawyer Business School (SBS) undergraduate student commencement speaker, spoke about coming to Suffolk from Anguilla, a small island in the Caribbean that measures no more than 35 square miles. He explained how he had never been taught to “dream big” in Anguilla, but coming to Suffolk

changed that for him.

“They said that your goals come at a cost of your sweat, your patience, your sacrifice, and yes, your sleep,” said Richard during his speech. “So, whenever you feel like giving up, always remember why you have started.”

Richard’s time at Suffolk has not yet ended as he is set to return to the university in the fall to pursue his MBA as a graduate student. However, all of his years of hard work thus far were rewarded the moment he crossed the stage to receive his degree.

“All the trials and tribulations you have endured was worth it in those few moments where your name is called and you glide across the stage. You literally bask in the moment of hardwork and perseverance,” he said in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.

Gene Lee, the president and CEO of Darden Restaurants Inc. and a Suffolk alumnus, also spoke to the SBS graduates. He shared anecdotes from his own life and career and gave them advice for their lives post-graduation.

“There are three types of people in the world. Those who are wondering what’s going on, those who are watching what’s going on, and those who are making things happen,” said Lee.

To conclude his speech, Lee surprised the graduates with a $100 gift card to any of the Darden restaurants, which includes Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House, among others.

“Now, you may not remember a word I said today, but hopefully you will remember me as the guy who bought you dinner,” said Lee.

The Commencement for Suffolk’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)  followed directly after the SBS ceremony.

Ruth E. Carter, an award winning costume designer who is known for her work in countless films and won an Oscar for best costume design in the 2018 Marvel Studios film “Black Panther,” addressed the CAS graduates.

She shared experiences from her life after graduating from Hampton University, and challenged the graduates to step outside of their comfort zones.

“Graduates, take an adventure. Take chances and be unpredictable. You have your whole life to live by the book,” she said in her speech. “If I hadn’t taken a chance all those years ago, I wouldn’t be standing before you today. So, take the chance.”

Morgan Robb, the 2018-2019 SGA President is grateful for her time at Suffolk, and said that she will remember sitting alongside the class of 2019 on graduation day for the rest of her life.

“This was a very special year at Suffolk and I’m so proud and lucky to have been a part of it. We held a successful senior week for our graduates to get to celebrate and we were able to pull together the largest class gift ever to give back to Suffolk,” said Robb to The Journal. “Graduating college is a special accomplishment and to get to celebrate and have those memories is so special and something that I am very grateful for.”

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