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2018 Undergraduate Commencement

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018 - 1:20 PM Alumni , All News , Arts and Sciences , Engineering , Pharmacy and Health Sciences , Business

A steady rain outside did not dampen spirits inside the Alumni Healthful Living Center, as 632 freshly-minted graduates joined the ranks of Western New England University alumni during the institution’s 2018 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 19.

"The moment we’ve waited four years for is happening right now," proclaimed student speaker Samantha J. Palumbo in addressing her fellow graduates.

The future English teacher from Bristol, Rhode Island, spoke of the lessons learned by the Class of 2018, the relationships that bind them together, and the transformative power of a Western New England education.

"This school has given us everything we need to become more than we ever had thought we would be," she said. "We were given a platform to create ourselves, to be proud of ourselves, and to be whoever we want to be."

"You have all grown and changed during the time you have spent here," said featured speaker and 1977 Western New England graduate Scott T. Stevens. An actor, producer, director, talent coordinator, and company manager working on Broadway, Stevens drew comparisons to the Tony-award winning musical Dear Evan Hansen in recounting finding himself during his time on the Springfield campus.

"I was found, and yes, changed. I found my voice and my independence. I discovered how I fit in," said Stevens. "The experience of four years on this campus certainly paid off 10-fold in developing the man I have become."


Before addressing the graduates, Stevens was presented the President's Medallion award. President Anthony S. Caprio praised Stevens' work founding Western New England's Stageless Players drama club more than 40 years ago, as well as his tireless work mobilizing the Broadway community in support of charitable causes ranging from AIDS research to animal welfare.

It was those experiences which influenced Stevens' advice to the graduating class. "No matter where your journey takes you, reserve some time to help others," he said. "You will find that the greatest rewards and life-changing experiences will come from helping to improve the human condition. These experiences will feed your heart and shine a light on your higher purpose."  

In his own remarks to graduates, President Caprio urged the Class of 2018 to follow in Stevens’ footsteps as they chart their own paths. 

"It is not just larger than life figures who make a difference.  It is those who choose to make a difference who do so.  It is those who choose to be leaders and accept the responsibility to lead," said Caprio. 

See photos of the 2018 Undergraduate Commencement.