University Holds First Combined Doctoral, Law, Pharmacy, Master's Commencement Ceremony

Posted May 18, 2015


On Sunday, May 17, Western New England University conferred Doctoral, Law, Pharmacy, and Master’s degrees to 343 students during its 2015 Graduate Commencement Ceremony in the Alumni Healthful Living Center on campus. Degree candidates received their diplomas and traditional degree hoods.

Law alumna Gale Candaras L’83 delivered the grad_5jpgcommencement address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Senator Candaras, a Democrat, served in the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives for nearly two decades.

Senator Candaras told the graduates, “You have entered the helping professions, law, pharmacy, psychology, business or sciences. Be a leader as well as a practitioner. Fight for the people you serve. Fight for higher standards and more resources. Don’t just complain about problems you find in your profession, fight for the solutions.”  

As the College of Pharmacy conferred Pharm.D. degrees upon its first graduating class, Dean Evan Robinson remarked to the students, “ Over the past four years, you’re shared your hearts with us, your inner compass. You’ve allowed us to experience your passion, drive and professionalism. You’ve allowed us to be a part of your personal development, and for that you have our heartfelt gratitude.”


School of Law Dean Eric Gouvin explained to the gathering, “As you sit here you may think you know what your professional journey holds in store for you, but don’t forget the wisdom of John Lennon who said, ‘Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.’ Or, the Jewish proverb, “People make plans – and God laughs.”

Gouvin added, “I do hope your dreams come true, but, it’s your journey – you own it, you are responsible for making the most of it.”

To view/download more photos click here.


2015 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Posted May 16, 2015

Western New England University Undergraduate _katagas_capriojpgCommencement was held on Saturday, May 16 in the Alumni Healthful Living Center on the University campus. University alumnus Anthony Katagas '92, one of the most prolific producers working in American independent film, and winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture for his role in producing 12 Years a Slave, delivered an inspirational commencement address and was awarded the Western New England University President’s Medallion. Katagas remarked, "In my business and in life, the more people you can have around you, who you can really be honest with, who appreciate your strengths and understand your weaknesses, the more successful you will be."    

Graduating Senior Thomas Cowin gave the Class of 2015 student address reminding his tomas_cowin_33jpgfellow graduates that, "We don't know all that life will bring, but I do know that some of the friendships we formed on this campus will be with us through it all."

2015 Blue and Gold Points of Pride 

Total degrees conferred: 924
Undergraduate Degrees: 581
Master’s degrees: 158
Ph.D. degrees: 7
J.D. and LL.M. from School of Law: 110
Pharm.D from College of Pharmacy 68

Top 5 fields of study for Undergraduates:
Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Accounting, and Sport Management

Katlyn Kress and service dog Faith receive their degree


23 states represented by undergraduate students:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Vermont.

24 states represented by graduate students:
Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

To view/download photos of Undergrad Commencement click here.

To view/download photos of Doctoral, Law, Pharmacy, Master's Commencement click here.


Planting Day Helps Beautify University Campus

Posted May 14, 2015

bloomingals2015sdentzudfradettebcooleyacardonadlaviolettesmarquesjpgjpgL-R: Susan Dentau, Diane Fradette, Barb Cooley, Awilda Cardona, Donna Laviolette, and     Sandra Marques, the Law School "Bloomingals"

Dozens of Western New England University employees took time out of their busy workday on Tuesday May 12, to don a t-shirt and participate in the annual campus Planting Day event. This annual tradition was started to help beautify the campus before thousands of visitors arrive on campus for Commencement Weekend. 

The 2015 University Undergraduate Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday May 16, at 2:00 p.m. in the Alumni Healthful Living Center, and will stream live at Live streaming will be available starting shortly before the ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. 

The Doctoral, Law, Pharmacy, and Master's Degree Commencement will be held on Sunday May 17, in the Alumni Healthful Living Center at 2:00 p.m., and will also stream live starting shortly before 2:00 p.m.




Media Festival Winners Announced

Posted May 13, 2015

By, junior Alexa Rowe

Western New England University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Communication hosted the 13th annual student Media Festival earlier this month. The event is designed to showcase and celebrate the work students have produced throughout the academic year. More than 100 people attended to screen the productions. Featured productions come from six distinct categories including TV reports, music videos, PSAs/TV commercials, short films, radio essays, and radio reports.

The festival is a competition with each category judged by a panel of experts including faculty, alumni, and local media professionals. “It's a terrific experience for their work to be viewed and judged by area media professionals. Several students have been offered jobs because their projects were shown at this event.” said Brenda Garton-Sjoberg, Department of Communication and the festival’s faculty advisor. Some of the judges for the festival included  Western New England University alumni who are now working as professionals in the media.

Professor Brenda Garton, Tucker Schumitz, Eathan Popowitz, Andrew Moalli, Nate Szymanski, Sarah Babski, Dean Saeed Ghahramani

Jury Award TV Report
First Place: Sarah Babski "Puzzle Making"
Second Place: Kevin Babcock "Envision Marketing"
Third Place: Bobby Caruso "Stageless Players"

Jury Award Music Videos
First Place: Tucker Schumitz "Love is an Open Door"
Second Place: Thomas Quinlan "I Got You"
Third Place: Eric Stinson "California Dreamin'"

Jury Award PSA/Commercial
First Place: Tucker Schumitz "Adopt a Pet"
Second Place: Thomas Quilan "Bauer Commercial"
Third Place: Maryann Gubala "Anti Bullying"

People's Choice Award TV Report
First Place: Sarah Babski "Puzzle Making"
Second Place: Kevin Babcock "Envision Marketing"
Third Place: Sarah Babski "WMAS"

People's Choice Award Music Videos
First Place: Tucker Schumitz "Love is an Open Door"
Second Place: Sarah Babski "Getting Younger"
Third Place: Andrea Depoutot "The Wonder of You"

People's Choice PSA/Commercial
First Place: Tucker Schumitz "Adopt a Pet"
Second Place: Thomas Quinlan "Bauer Commercial"
Third Place: Kevin Babcock "Mortar Board"

Radio Report
First Place: Nate Szymanski “Maple Sugaring”
Second Place: Aubrie Przybysz “Boston Marathon”
Third Place: Ethan Popowitz “Debtors”
Certificate of Achievement: Andrea Depoutot “Eye Exams”

Radio Essay
First Place: Ethan Popowitz “My sister”
Second Place: Bobby Caruso “Stuttering”
Third Place: Aubrie Przybysz "Grandpa's 90th"
Certificate of Achievement: Alexa Rowe “Easter Traditions”
Certificate of Achievement: Stephen Romano “Diabetes”

Short Film/Essay
First Place: Andrew Moalli for “Gray's Job”
Second Place: Courtney Miller/ GBTV "The Studio"
Third Place: Michael Masciadrelli "Spiritual Life"

Click here to view photos of the 13th annual student Media Festival event.


Western New England University to Host Regional Social Work Conference

Posted May 11, 2015

Western New England University will host the 33rd annual Regional Social Work Conference on Wednesday, May 27 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:05 p.m. The event features 46 workshops designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of Social Workers and Human Services professionals of all experience levels. Presentations will focus on important issues facing Social Work professionals when dealing with children and families, the elderly, mental health, substance abuse, multicultural issues, and personal development.


Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Linda Sanford will deliver the conference keynote address, “Strong at the Broken Places: Resilient Survivors and their Workers.” The myth of “once damaged goods, always damaged goods” supposes that a survivor of trauma is destined to continue patterns of abuse—against self or others. Quite to the contrary, most survivors go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Many, in fact, derive their greatest strengths in the very areas where they’ve been hurt the most, not only becoming strong, but “strong at the broken places.”

Sanford’s keynote will explore this issue along with the availability of clients’ workers to support this theme through their own resiliency. She is the author of Strong at the Broken Places: Building Resiliency in the Lives of Survivors (1990, 2004) and The Silent Children (1980). Sanford is also coauthor of Women and Self-Esteem (1984) and In Defense of Ourselves (1978).

Sanford began her career working with victims of sexual assault. She also worked for 20 years with youth who were convicted of crimes. She has also taught at various graduate schools of social work in Massachusetts. Currently, she is a visiting Professor of Trauma Informed Social Work at Wheelock College.

In addition, the conference will feature the presentation of the 19th annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award to Ms. Julie Borowski for her more than 36-year career working in Human Services field. The Jim Quinn Award honors a human service professional whomade outstanding contributions to the social work profession.

Registration is now open and will remain open until the day of the conference. The full-day conference is $144 ($129 if registering before May 19). Full-time Western New England University students may attend for $25, while non-employed, full-time students from other colleges and universities may attend for $50. For more information call 413-796-2173 or register on-line here.

The conference is a joint effort of Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, Social Work Advisory Council, and Office of Professional Development.


Annual International Kite Festival Held

Posted May 7, 2015

By, sophomore Natasha Mercado-Santana


Western New England’s Spiritual Life Club, International Club, and Office of Diversity, held their annual Spirit of Spring Kite Festival, and an International Festive Dinner on Thursday, April 30, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Commonwealth Lawn. Patang kites were provided to anyone who participate in the event. 

Freshman Lukas St. Germaine remarked, "It's a really nice change of focus right now, to relax and get final exams off my mind." Senior Umar Chaudhry explained, "I celebrate the start of spring back in my home country of Pakistan every year by flying kites with my friends." As someone with much experience, Chaudhry spent time helping other people launch and fly their kites.


Spiritual Life Coordinator Sheila Hanifin says, “Dispite the lack of much wind, the students did a lot of running and laighing, and that makes for a successful event!” This year’s Spirit of Spring Kite Festival drew inspiration from the Basant Kite Festival, a seasonal celebration in the Middle East and India where people gather to welcome the coming of spring. 

To view and download more photos click here.


Students Discuss Non-Profit Board Experiences

Posted May 7, 2015


On April 28,  seven College of Business students participating in the Non-Profit Board Experience (NPBE) Program, presented their year’s work to site supervisors, faculty sponsors, fellow student participants, and the Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Julie Siciliano. This year-long experiential course involves students sitting as voting members of governance boards of local non-profit organizations.  In the fall semester, students receive an overview of the mission of the organization and sit in on various committee meetings to determine what project they will be working on during the spring semester.  

In 2014-15, students worked with the American Red Cross, The Children’s Study Home, Habitat for Humanity, Springfield Boys and Girl Club, and Young Professionals of Greater Springfield.  Students were assigned a variety of projects including fundraising events, marketing for membership drives, and more.  This program presents an opportunity for students to gain unique out-of-the-classroom learning experiences that are invaluable for their professional networking and exposure to the cause-related sectors of the not-for-profit industry. 

kara_k_2jpgL-R:  Olivia Mei ‘16, Branden Piquette ‘15, Eliza Crescentini, Executive Director of The Children’s Study Home; Gina Czerwinski, Director of Development, American Red Cross; Professor Joe Gerard, and Michael Camille ’15.



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