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84 receive degrees at Eastern's graduate hooding ceremony

Published on May 16, 2022

84 receive degrees at Eastern's graduate hooding ceremony

Secretary of State Denise Merrill delivers commencement address

Commencement speaker Denise Merrill, secretary of the State of Connecticut

Tanisha Markland '22 gives remarks

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Ayesha Asim '22 and Professors Moh'd RuJoub and Peter Bachiochi

With more than 250 guests joining the graduating class and their faculty, the Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Instructional Center at Eastern Connecticut State University was at full capacity on May 14 for Eastern's Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony for master's degree graduates. Eighty-four students received degrees in eight Master of Science programs, including 11 students in Accounting, six in Organizational Management, and 67 in six different Education programs.

Denise Merrill, secretary of the State of Connecticut, gave the commencement address, telling the graduates to dream big. "When someone asks you to do something . . . take the leap . . . Ask 'why not me?' Make the change you've been waiting for. Don't sit on the sidelines. Don't complain and not do anything about it. Build the world you want to see."

Merrill described the past two years as "tough," with COVID, violence at home and abroad, and climate change as three reasons why "the world can seem a pretty daunting place." But she said the graduates were lucky, because they were graduating "into a world that wants you, into a world that needs you right now." Citing high tech job openings at companies such as Electric Boat, Merrill said, "Opportunity is everywhere, especially for college graduates."

Merrill also urged the graduates to engage in a life of public service by voting in elections, running for local offices and being part of what she called "the most enduring democracy on Earth."

The morning event began with a beautiful rendition of "America the Beautiful," sung by Music major Samantha Warshauer '22, followed by video greetings from Matt Fleury, chair of the Board of Regents of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.

Tanisha Markland '22, a graduate of the Organizational Management Program, gave remarks on behalf of the students. "As an adult learner who works two jobs while balancing work and family commitments, there was no shortage of feeling that there were not enough hours in a day to do all the work," said Markland. "But with certainty I say this today, it was all worth it!

"My fellow graduates, we are here today because we faced our fears and persevered," continued Markland. "Some of us may have lost family members or close friends but we are here today because we persevered. Along the journey, we faced adversities, yet we didn't settle; we chose to forge ahead. The world is waiting for us to make a difference; Class of 2022, I implore you to go make a difference in somebody's life."

Following Merrill's commencement address, Eastern President Elsa Núñez also offered words of encouragement to the graduates. "You are self-disciplined, highly motivated, and make us all very proud. I want you to be proud of yourself, firm in your convictions, and confident in your abilities.

"I know that many of our graduates today have earned their degrees while working full-time as schoolteachers or in other professional settings. You have been juggling work, school, family responsibilities and other obligations . . . Completing your master's program is a symbol of your commitment to lifelong learning, and an opportunity for you to make even greater contributions in your jobs and communities with the knowledge and skills that you have developed."

The event concluded with each graduate donning their ceremonial hoods, assisted by members of the Graduate Faculty. Father Jonathan Ficara of Our Lady Queen of Peace gave the benediction, while Grand Marshal Andrew Utterback served as master of ceremonies.

Written by Ed Osborn

Categories: Graduate Division