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College Celebrates 2010 Commencement; View Video of Undergraduate and Law Ceremonies

Posted April 18, 2010

advancementplanting10gifNearly 700 students received their undergraduate degrees May 22 at the Western New England College Commencement ceremony at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. The College also awarded its first-ever Ph.D. degrees during the ceremony.  Conrad Ricketts, executive producer of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, received an honorary degree and delivered the Commencement remarks. View video highlights of the Undergraduate and Law Commencement ceremonies, as well as excerpts from the Baccalaureate ceremony. Watch the enitre Undergraduate ceremony.

Earlier in the week, the College community began Commencement preparations with the annual planting day on May 18. Pictured helping beautify the campus with flowers are (L-R) Advancement Projects Manager Virginia Webb, Assistant Director of Advancement Operations Karen Petrie ’04/G’10, Development Coordinator Lina Dias, Director of Advancement Operations David Sterling, Director of Annual Giving Andrew Bernstein, and Associate Director of Advancement Communications Brian Fitzgerald.

During the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, Alumni Association President Mat Nelson ’93 welcomed seniors into the Alumni Association. “You join a network of over 40,000 alumni around the country and across the globe,” he said. “Collectively and individually, we are proud examples of our College through our generosity and service. May you work to enrich the lives of others and share in the building of a better world.”

Katie Manning of East Longmeadow, MA delivered the student address. Ted Zern, retiring Dean of Freshman and Transfer Students, was honored as Dean Emeritus.

Ricketts helped created the Emmy award-winning Extreme Makeover: Home Edition series, which spends 45 weeks a year on the road renovating or replacing homes for families in need. In the process, the show enlists a small army of volunteers from the community in a modern version of an old fashioned barn raising. One of the show's makeovers this past year was in nearby Suffield, CT. The effort included the participation of volunteers from the Western New England College community.

"Your generation understands that if we do not make a difference to our neighbors, come together, that this nation will no longer be a great nation. I congratulate you on the work that you've done," Ricketts said. 

Ricketts also shared what he called the secret to success. "Every no is one step closer to yes," he said. "There's two types of people. The word no destroys them, or the word no inspires them. Be that person that turns every no into the yes!"

College President Anthony S. Caprio also challenged the graduates to give back. "It is not just larger than life figures who make a difference. It is those who choose to make a difference who do so," said Caprio. "You determine how you undertake your life and your work, and to what greater good and purpose you dedicate yourself. You have acquired the precious tools to make your calling fulfilling, stimulating, and satisfying – and one that is not self-centered or self-serving."

"Confront your future with passion and with strength, bringing to bear all that you have learned at Western New England. I know that you will be a force for better days ahead," he added. "While your education here has not given you all the answers to all the questions and dilemmas you will struggle with, it has, I believe, helped you understand how to search for answers and solutions, how to construct these with logic and precision, and how to face life's issues with intelligence, conviction, and compassion."

Click here to read the full text of President Caprio's Commencement address. View Commencement photos.


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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