Commencement 2011: Seniors say goodbye

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Commencement 2011: Seniors say goodbye

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Dressed in caps and gowns, Suffolk’s class of 2011 piled into the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on May 22, ready to flip to the next chapter in their lives.

 

In the enormous Convention Center, students, families and faculty were seated while staff and trustees took the stage, magnified by the large screens on both sides of the room. Once the soon-to-be-grads marched in, the 2011 Commencement began.

 

After Trustee Carol Sawyer Parks opened the Commencement, Acting President and Provost Barry Brown gave an opening speech, welcoming all. He then had Rev. Amy Fisher speak.

 

“May we continue from this day forth to be inspired and to inspire, to be encouraged and to encourage, to be challenged and to challenge,” said Fisher. “One world ending today and a new world beginning.”

 

After Fisher’s prayer, seniors Kevin Hadfield and Kayla Hopkins sang the National Anthem. After the performance, Brown returned to the microphone to introduce the commencement speaker, CBS newsman Jeff Glor.

 

Glor began his speech by telling the graduates to applaud themselves and their parents. “I’m honored, and thank you, and by the way, before we start, don’t applaud me, if we could just for a second, applaud yourselves,” he said with a smile. “Stand up, applaud yourselves, you deserve it. You did it. Well done!”

 

As the speech continued, Glor explained his own life experiences, dabbling in humor as well as the more serious sides of things. He spoke of taking jobs that you feel inspired to take and to “make time for the things that take time.”

 

“I took a job in news because I thought there was something  about it that got me. I should be clear, I never had — and you don’t have to have one — I never had a magical epiphany,” explained Glor. “Nobody ever said to me, this is what you need to do. It felt right at the time, which is why I did it. I wasn’t sure where it would lead. Joseph Campbell, the famous mythologist, said, follow your bliss. I always loved that quote. I thought maybe I found my bliss.”

 

Glor concluded his speech to the graduates by comparing life to a marathon. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, and I’ll wrap with this, that sometimes the marathon, whatever it is, if it’s a real marathon, the actual one, if it’s the marathon of your career, or if it’s the marathon of your life, whatever it is, sometimes the marathon doesn’t go the way you planned it,” Glor said. “Again, I planned to be a pre-dentistry major. Keep going. Adjust. Keep learning.”

 

After the Glor finished his speech, Brown took the stage again to present the honorary degrees. Honorary degress were presented to Jeff Glor, Peter H. Smyth, chairman and chief executive officer of Greater Media, Inc., Joaquín Almunia, a vice president of the European Commission, the EU Executive branch, Joseph Corcoran, chairman, Corcoran Jennison Companies, Jeanette G. Clough, president and CEO, Mount Auburn Hospital, and Marshall M. Sloane, chairman of the board, Century Bank.

 

Student speaker Nat Steinsultz then took the stage to share a few words of wisdom with his fellow classmates.

 

“You’ve reached the end of an important stage of your life, and there are many opportunities ahead of you. You’ve worked hard, and you’ve accomplished something impressive. You should all feel proud and excited for your future,” said Steinsultz. “However, if you’re anything like me, you’re also terrified.”

 

Steinsultz continued to explain to his class that even though there is no possible way to see what the future holds, the opportunities in front of them are endless. “No matter what you do in your career and in your life, you will have that trunk full of education, experiences and skills to take with you and be successful in whatever you do.”

 

Once the speech ended, Brown resumed the microphone once more to give some of his own words to the class of 2011. “For each of you, turning those dreams into reality starts here, starts today,” said Brown. “Please take the dreams that you have first imagined at Suffolk and wrap them in the wonderful values and character that each of you possesses.”

 

With that, the degrees were passed out to first the College of Arts and Science and then the Sawyer Business School. Graduates clapped and cheered as they watched each other receive their diplomas and start a new part of their lives.

 

Joanna Rottini, a senior with a degree in fine arts, a major in graphic design, said she felt great after the ceremony.  “I feel weird in a good way. It’s surreal,” said Rottini. “I liked the commencement speech a lot, it was better than expected!”

 

Another fresh graduate, Zach Hader, who majored in public relations, said he was moving back to San Francisco to get into the advertising business. “I feel really accomplished. I want to keep going and I’m going to push myself to get that MBA,” said Hader.

 

Overall, students, families and faculty alike had a proud day as they watched the class of 2011 leave Suffolk and venture out into the world. Best of luck and best wishes to the class of 2011!

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