Charter Oak State College 2016 Graduation and Commencement Ceremony


GOOD AFTERNOON. ON BEHALF OF OUR FACULTY,
STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS, I WANT TO WELCOME THE GRADUATES AND
THEIR FAMILIES TO CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE’S 42ND
COMMENCEMENT. I ALSO WANT TO CONGRATULATE ALL OF THE
GRADUATES. I KNOW FOR MANY OF YOU THIS HAS BEEN A LONG AWAITED
DREAM COME TRUE AND WE ARE PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE
THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT WITH YOU. BEFORE THE THE STAR SPANGLED
BANNER IS SUNG, I’D LIKE TO REMIND YOU TO PLEASE TURN OFF
YOUR CELL PHONES AND YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES. THANK YOU.
I’D LIKE TO INVITE ETHAN YORK, CLASS OF 2016, TO JOIN ME ON
STAGE. ETHAN IS THE SIXTH GRADUATE
FROM THE YORK FAMILY AND ALL HAVE SUNG AT OUR GRADUATIONS.
I GIVE YOU ETHAN YORK. [ APPLAUSE ]
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE, BY THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT,
WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAILED, AT THE TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING?
WHOSE BROAD STRIPES AND BRIGHT STARS,
THROUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT, O’ER THE RAMPARTS WE WATCHED,
WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING. AND THE ROCKET’S RED GLARE,
THE BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR, GAVE PROOF THROUGH THE NIGHT,
THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE. OH SAY DOES THAT STAR SPANGLED
BANNER YET WAVE, O’ER THE LAND OF THE FREE, AND
THE HOME OF THE BRAVE. [ APPLAUSE ]
PLEASE BE SEATED. I WANT TO EXTEND MY
SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS AND I WANT TO TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT
YOU—THE CLASS OF 2016. ALTHOUGH WE ARE A DISTANCE LEARNING
INSTITUTION WE KNOW A LOT ABOUT YOU, OUR GRADUATES. WE LEARN
ABOUT YOU FROM THE CONCENTRATION PLANS OF STUDY YOU DEVELOP, THE
RESUMES YOU SUBMIT, AND THE GRADUATE SURVEYS THAT YOU
COMPLETE. STAFF AND FACULTY READ ALL OF THESE. AND, OF
COURSE, YOUR ADMISSION AND ACADEMIC COUNSELORS HAVE GOTTEN
TO KNOW YOU THROUGH E‑MAILS AND PHONE CALLS. WE CELEBRATE WITH
YOU EACH OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND WE TAKE PRIDE IN KNOWING
THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED A PROMOTION OR HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED
TO GRADUATE SCHOOL. SO WHAT DOES THIS GRADUATING
CLASS LOOK LIKE? WHAT MAKES THIS CLASS UNIQUE AND WHAT DO
YOU HAVE IN COMMON? [FEEDBACK] AND WE’RE A LITTLE NOISY.
MORE THAN 100 OF YOU ARE GRADUATING WITH ASSOCIATE
DEGREES. MORE THAN 500 OF YOU ARE
GRADUATING WITH BACHELOR’S DEGREES.
65% OF TODAY’S GRADUATES ARE WOMEN AND THE AVERAGE AGE OF OUR
GRADUATES IS 38. GRADUATES RANGE IN AGE FROM 17
TO 70 + PLUS. 31% OF YOU TOOK ONE OR MORE CLEP
OR DANTES EXAMS.? 44% OF YOU EARNED HONORS.
TODAY WE HAVE GRADUATES FROM 38 STATES AND TWO COUNTRIES, CANADA AND GREAT BRITAIN.
69% OF YOU ARE FROM CONNECTICUT. THE WOMEN IN TRANSITION PROGRAM
AND CT WAGE PROGRAM, TWO SPECIAL PROGRAMS SUPPORTED BY CHARTER
OAK TO HELP ADULTS ADVANCE IN THE WORKFORCE, IS GRADUATING 12
STUDENTS, ALL OF WHOM ARE HERE TODAY.
AS YOU CAN SEE, YOU ARE TRULY A UNIQUE AND REMARKABLE CLASS. AT
THE RECEPTION AFTER GRADUATION, TAKE A MINUTE TO MEET ONE
ANOTHER AND TO SHARE YOUR EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY.
AT THE RECEPTION YOU WILL ALSO GET A CHANCE TO MEET YOUR
ACADEMIC COUNSELOR AND OTHER STAFF WHO HAVE ASSISTED YOU ON
YOUR EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY HAD THE
OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE LILA
GUILLET, COMMENCEMENT COORDINATOR AND LINDA LARKIN,
DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC SERVICES FOR ORGANIZING TODAY’S EVENT.
LET’S GIVE THEM A ROUND OF APPLAUSE. [ APPLAUSE ]
I AM NOW PLEASED TO INTRODUCE JOANN PRICE, A MEMBER OF THE
CONNECTICUT BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. REGENT PRICE.
[ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. AND ON BEHALF OF THE
BOARD OF REGENTS, I AM DELIGHTED TO BE HERE TO WITNESS THIS WITH ITERFUL GRADUATION. I
THANK DR. KLONOSKI AND THE WORK THAT HE HAS DONE AND THE LARGE TURNOUT WE HAVE TODAY OF
ALL OF YOU GRADUATES. DISTANCE LEARNING IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS, AND
WE SEE IT GROWING AND GROWING INTO THE FUTURE. AND SO WE THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL TURNOUT.
WE THANK YOU PARENTS AND FAMILY FOR THE SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN TO THE STUDENTS, AND WE VERY
MUCH RESPECT THE FACT THAT MANY OF YOU ARE BALANCING HOME, WORK, FAMILY AND CHILDREN,
BUT YET YOU REALIZE AND UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION. SO WE SALUTE YOU TODAY AND WE
CONGRATULATE YOU TODAY, AND ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS, MY GREATEST CONGRATULATIONS
AND THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ] THANK YOU, REGENT PRICE. IT IS
NOW MY HONOR TO INTRODUCE PRESIDENT MARK
OJAKIAN, THE PRESIDENT OF OUR CONNECTICUT STATE COLLEGES AND
UNIVERSITIES SYSTEM.>>THANK YOU, IT’S A REAL HONOR FOR ME TO
BE HERE TODAY TO HELP YOU CELEBRATE THIS GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE BEST
PARTS OF MY JOB IS ACTUALLY INTERACTING WITH STUDENTS NO MATTER WHERE I GO AND THIS YEAR
WE HAD THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE. I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOME OF THE MOST COMPELLING
TESTIMONY THAT WAS HEARD THAT DAY CAME FROM STUDENTS FROM CHARTER OAK. THEY TALKED ABOUT
THEIR GOALS, THEIR ASPIRATIONS AND THEY TALKED ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT PRESENTED THEMSELVES
IN THE WAY OF GETTING TO THE FINISH LINE. WITHOUT THAT COMPELLING TESTIMONY, WE WOULD
NOT HAVE BEEN SO FORTUNATE WHEN THE BUDGET WAS BEING DEBATED TO BE CONSIDERED A PRIORITY.
AND SO I WAS JUST SO EXCITED TO BE PART OF THAT DAY, AND YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF
YOUR COLLEAGUES WHO CAME TO THE CAPITAL AND TESTIFIED.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO FIRST, THOUGH, IS TO TALK TO THE FAMILIES THAT ARE HERE. I’M
A PARENT AND A GRANDPARENT AND I KNOW HOW MUCH THIS MOMENT MEANS TO ALL OF YOU. AS MUCH
AS IT IS A HUGE MILESTONE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR ALL THE STUDENTS, AND IT IS, IT’S JUST
AS IMPORTANT TO ALL OF YOU. YOUR SUPPORT, YOUR GUIDANCE, AND MORE LIKELY, YOUR SACRIFICES
ARE A HUGE REASON THAT THESE STUDENTS ARE HERE TODAY, GRADUATING AND GETTING READY TO
BEGIN ANOTHER JOURNEY IN THEIR LIVES. SO I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE ALL OF YOU. I WANT TO
COMMEND YOU AND THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE TO ARRIVE AT THIS MOMENT. YOUR SUPPORT
HAS CREATED CONNECTICUT’S FUTURE LEADERS, WORKFORCE AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS. I KNOW YOU
ARE VERY PROUD, AND YOU SHOULD BE. NOW I WOULD LIKE TO ASK ALL THE GRADUATES IF THEY WOULD
JUST STAND UP FOR A MINUTE AND APPLAUD ALL THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE AUDIENCE.
[ APPLAUSE ] THANK YOU. NOW TO THE GRADUATES. I HOPE YOU
FEEL AN IMMENSE SENSE OF PRIDE FOR BEING SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF CHART CHARTER OAK STATE
COLLEGE. I KNOW YOU’RE ALL GRADUATING TODAY BECAUSE OF YOUR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, BUT
MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR PUSHING YOURSELVES DESPITE LIFE’S REAL CHALLENGES. I’M SO GROUNDED IN
THE BELIEF OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION HERE IN CONNECTICUT. I’M SO INSPIRED BY ALL OF
YOU, ALL YOU HAVE ACHIEVED AND ALL THE SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE, SO I WANT TO CONGRATULATE YOU,
I WANT TO THANK YOU. AS YOU MAKE YOUR WAY INTO THE WORLD, EITHER CONTINUING YOUR EDUCATION
OR YOUR CAREER, I URGE YOU IN JOINING ME IN SUPPORT OF CHARTER OAK STATE BY WORKING ON
BEHALF OF FUTURE STOONTS WHO WILL FACE SIMILAR CHALLENGES. SO I WISH YOU THE BEST IN YOUR
BRIGHT FUTURE. I WISH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU A VERY SUCCESSFUL CAREER. AND A LIFE
FULL OF HAPPINESS. YOU’RE AMAZING STUDENTS. NOW GO CONTINUE TO MAKE US PROUD. THANK YOU
VERY MUCH! [ APPLAUSE ]
>>THANK YOU, PRESIDENT OJAKIAN. I NOW WOULD LIKE TO
INTRODUCE OUR STUDENT SPEAKER, A 2016 GRADUATE, SARA JONES.
SARA? [ APPLAUSE ]
>>GOOD AFTERNOON. DISTINGUISHED FACULTY, FELLOW
GRADUATES, SPECIAL GUESTS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
I AM SO HONORED TO BE SPEAKING HERE TODAY! LET ME START BY
SAYING CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GRADUATING CLASS OF 2016!!!!
I WAS ASKED TO SHARE MY STORY, SO HERE GOES. WE ALL STRUGGLE
WITH ADVERSITY OF ONE KIND OR ANOTHER, THOUGH MY STORY MAY BE
A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THAN MOST. I TRIED COLLEGE AFTER HIGH
SCHOOL AND UNFORTUNATELY THAT DIDN’T WORK. I TRIED LIFE AFTER
THAT; THAT DIDN’T WORK EITHER. I ENDED UP A SINGLE MOTHER AT 21.
FAILING AT LIFE MANY TIMES, I BEGAN TO THINK THAT I WAS NOT
WORTHY OF ANY GREATNESS. HAVING SLIM TO NO OPTIONS, I DECIDED TO
START LIFE OVER. THIS IS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I HAVE EVER
HAD TO DO. HOMELESS, I BEGAN MY JOURNEY
WITH A DUFFLE BAG AND AN INFANT, [ APPLAUSE ]
LIVING IN A SHELTER WITH NO CASH ON HAND. THERE WERE NO FAMILIAR
FACES, JUST THE CONTENTS OF THE BAG FILLED WITH MOSTLY MY
DAUGHTER’S BELONGINGS AND WHAT FEW ITEMS WERE LEFT OF MY PAST.
SOLIDIFIED IN THIS SITUATION, THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT TO DO BUT
SIMPLY REFLECT. I SLOWLY REALIZED THAT EACH OF THESE
FAILURES WAS NOT A FAILURE AT ALL. THEY WERE LESSONS AND
LEARNING EXPERIENCES FROM WHICH TO DEVELOP A NEW FOUNDATION FOR
LIFE. I STOPPED THINKING THAT I
COULDN’T, THOUGH THEY ALL STILL THOUGHT I WOULDN’T. I STOPPED
THINKING I WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH, THOUGH THEY THOUGHT I’D NEVER
BE. I BELIEVED IN MYSELF, WITH NO DOUBTS OR HESITATIONS.
I WAS GIVEN A CHANCE AT A NON‑PROFIT ORGANIZATION, WHICH
TURNED INTO SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. I WAS HIRED AS AN
ASSISTANT TEACHER IN A PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM AND SLOWLY WORKED MY
WAY UP THE LADDER. YOU KNOW, THAT “LADDER”. AT THIS POINT I
HAVE HELD MULTIPLE TITLES WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION AND AM
CURRENTLY A PRESCHOOL TEACHER AND PROGRAM SUPERVISOR.
IN 2007 THE ORGANIZATION OFFERED ME A FEW CLASSES FREE OF CHARGE. MY DIRECTOR
ENCOURAGED ME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY. AT THE TIME I WASN’T REALLY SURE
IF THIS WAS POSSIBLE ‑ THINKING, CAN I REALLY DO THIS? WILL I
FAIL AGAIN? TAKING A FEW CLASSES, ONE AT A
TIME, AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETING THEM CHANGED
EVERYTHING. I NOW WAS IMMERSED IN THE WORLD OF EDUCATION AND
LEARNING, NOT JUST WITH THE CHILDREN IN THE PRESCHOOL
CLASSROOMS, BUT IN MY OWN LIFE AS WELL.
I COMPLETED MY FIRST DEGREE AT A LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE. IT TOOK
ME A LITTLE LESS THAN 6 YEARS. TO YOU, THIS MAY SEEM LIKE A
LONG TIME BUT FOR ME IT SEEMS LIKE… I GRADUATED.
[ LAUGHTER ] THE NEXT DESTINATION ON MY
PERSONAL ROAD TO SUCCESS WAS ACQUIRING MY BACHELOR’S DEGREE.
I WAS SO LUCKY TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE WOMEN IN TRANSITION
PROGRAM HERE AT CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE. THIS PROVIDED ME
WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO CARRY OUT MY COURSE WORK WITH DELORES
BELL, THE MOST AMAZING MENTOR BY MY SIDE. SHE, ALONG WITH HER
ASSISTANT, JANICE SILVA, GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED ME
THROUGHOUT MY STUDIES IN A COMFORTING BUT STERN WAY THAT
MAKES THEM ALMOST LIKE MY FAMILY. THESE LADIES DON’T ALLOW
YOU TO GIVE UP ON YOURSELF, AND LET ME TELL YOU, THERE WERE MANY
TIMES WHEN I WANTED TO. THEY NEVER FOR A SECOND LET
ME TALK MYSELF OUT OF MY OWN SUCCESS. THUS, I OBTAINED MY
BACHELORS OF SCIENCE WITH A CONCENTRATION IN CHILD STUDIES.
I HAVE ALSO COMMITTED MYSELF TO CONTINUING MY EDUCATION.
I HAVE RECENTLY APPLIED TO AND BEGUN THE PROCESS FOR THE
ALTERNATE ROUTE TO TEACHER CERTIFICATION AND CAN’T WAIT TO BEGIN THIS NEXT JOURNEY.
I AM LIVING, BREATHING PROOF THAT YOU CAN COME BACK FROM
ANYTHING AND CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY!
STOP THINKING ABOUT LIFE AS A THING WE JUST LIVE AND LET
HAPPEN. BEGIN THINKING OF LIFE AS THE GREATEST WEALTH OF
OPPORTUNITIES YOU WILL EVER HAVE. EVERY DAY IS ANOTHER
CHANCE TO LET YOUR GREATNESS SPARKLE. DON’T THINK OF THIS AS
AN ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT WILL NOW ALLOW YOU TO GET COMFORTABLE.
GET OUT OF THE COMFORTABLE “I JUST GRADUATED” ROUTINE AND SET
ANOTHER GOAL FOR YOURSELF. WHY JUST BE? THIS IS THE ONLY CHANCE WE HAVE TO
GROW, LEARN, STRIVE FOR SUCCESS AND ACCOMPLISH OUR GOALS. DON’T
LET AVERAGE WIN! THE ONLY ONE STOPPING YOU IS YOU. CREATE A
PLATFORM FOR YOUR SUCCESS. DETERMINE WHAT LEVEL OF SUCCESS
YOU WANT TO ATTAIN. UTILIZE EVERY HOUR, MINUTE, AND SECOND
OF YOUR DAY TO GET CLOSER TO YOUR SUCCESS. I CAN TELL YOU
FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU WANT WHEN
YOU DESERVE TO HAVE IT. YOU WILL GET WHERE YOU NEED TO BE WHEN
YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. THIS COMES WHEN YOU REACH THE
POINT WHERE COMFORTABLE IS ON LONGER AN OPTION. STAGNANCY IS
NO LONGER IN YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS. WHEN YOU CHANGE YOUR
WAY OF THINKING ALL THE IMPOSSIBLES BECOME POSSIBLE AND
THE NO’S SUDDENLY BECOME YES’. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS DEGREE IS
NOT JUST THE PIECE OF PAPER WE WALK AWAY WITH, IT’S THE PASSION
THAT GOES INTO OUR STUDIES, THE TEARS, THE STRUGGLES, THE TIME
AWAY FROM YOUR CHILDREN, THE LATE NIGHTS (OFTEN SLEEPLESS).
IT IS WITHIN THESE MOMENTS THAT WE TRULY DEFINE OUR GREATNESS.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON SAID; “OUR DEEPEST FEAR IS NOT THAT WE ARE
INADEQUATE. OUR DEEPEST FEAR IS THAT WE ARE POWERFUL BEYOND
MEASURE. IT IS OUR LIGHT, NOT OUR DARKNESS THAT MOST FRIGHTENS
US. WE ASK OURSELVES, WHO AM I TO BE BRILLIANT, GORGEOUS,
TALENTED, AND FABULOUS? ACTUALLY, WHO ARE YOU NOT TO BE?
ONLY YOU HAVE THE POWER TO INVEST TIME IN YOUR SUCCESS, I
WISH YOU ALL NOTHING BUT GREATNESS AND THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SUCCESS
IN ALL OF YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVORS. THANK YOU. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU, SARA. NOW YOU SEE WHY WE ARE SO PROUD OF OUR
GRADUATES. IT’S A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL PRESENTATION AND
THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US. [ APPLAUSE ]
# AND I TAKE IT YOU’RE A VERY PROUD CHILD? [ LAUGHTER ]
IT IS MY PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE THE FACULTY MEMBERS OF OUR PLATFORM PARTY.
UNLIKE TRADITIONAL COLLEGES WE DO NOT HAVE FULL
TIME FACULTY. OUR CORE FACULTY TEACHES FULL TIME AT OTHER TWO
AND FOUR YEAR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS IN CONNECTICUT.
OUR DISTANCE LEARNING TEACHING FACULTY CAN COME FROM ALL OVER
THE COUNTRY. OUR CLOSEST FACULTY MEMBERS TEACH HERE AT
CENTRAL. OUR MOST DISTANT FACULTY MEMBER LIVES IN HAWAII.
ALL OF OUR FACULTY ARE LEADERS IN THEIR ACADEMIC FIELDS AND ARE
COMMITTED TO TEACHING ADULT STUDENTS. I WILL READ THEIR
NAMES, THEIR HOME COLLEGE OR PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT AND WHAT
THEY TEACH FOR CHARTER OAK OR IF THEY ARE A MEMBER OF OUR CORE
FACULTY. SOME ARE BOTH. PLEASE HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE UNTIL THE
ENTIRE FACULTY HAS BEEN INTRODUCED.
AND I’M GOING TO ASK THE FACULTY TO PLEASE STAND AS I CALL YOUR NAME.
LOUIS BOUDREAU TEACHES PSYCHOLOGY COURSES AT
CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE AND FOR OTHER COLLEGES.
ADAM BUSH ADAM IS THE PROVOST OF COLLEGE
UNBOUND IN RHODE ISLAND. HE TEACHES IN OUR PROGRAM FOR COLLEGE UNBOUND
STUDENTS. ANGELA CHAPMAN
DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AT CHARTER OAK TEACHES NON‑PROFIT
MANAGEMENT. MEREDITH CLERMONT‑FERRAND
TEACHES OUR IDS CORNERSTONE COURSE. SHE IS PROFESSOR OF
ENGLISH AT EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY.
PAULINE CLIFFORD IS CHAIR OF OUR DISTANCE
LEARNING COMMITTEE AND TEACHES OUR IDS CORNERSTONE COURSE. SHE
IS THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT QUINEBAUG VALLEY
COMMUNITY COLLEGE. PATRICE FARQUHARSON
IS AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AT
POST UNIVERSITY. SHE TEACHES PSYCHOLOGY COURSES AND IS A
CHAIR OF OUR SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE COMMITTEE AND
ACADEMIC COUNCIL. SHE IS THE ASSOCIATE DEAN OF OUR FACULTY.
ANDRE FREEMAN IS THE CHAIR OF THE SCIENCE AND
MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT AT CAPITAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE. HE
TEACHES STATISTICS. ANN MARIE GAGNON
IS AN ACADEMIC COUNSELOR AT CHARTER OAK. SHE TEACHES TEAM
LEADERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP PRACTICES.
RICHARD GERBER TEACHES HISTORY COURSES AND IS A
MEMBER OF OUR HISTORY AND HUMANITIES COMMITTEE, DISTANCE
LEARNING COMMITTEE, ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE AND THE ACADEMIC
COUNCIL. HE IS PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF HISTORY AT SOUTHERN
CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY. LUCY ANNE HURSTON
IS ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AT MANCHESTER
COMMUNITY COLLEGE. SHE TEACHES OUR WOMEN IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
COURSE. JEFFREY KOVACH
TEACHES U.S. HISTORY I AND II. HE IS ALSO AN ADJUNCT AT A
NUMBER OF OTHER COLLEGES. RUTH MACDONALD
TEACHES LITERATURE AND GLOBAL STUDIES COURSES AND IS A
MEMBER OF OUR DISTANCE LEARNING COMMITTEE.
HARRY MCBRIEN TEACHES AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. HE
IS ALSO AN ADJUNCT AT OTHER COLLEGES AND HAS HIS OWN
MARKETING/MEDIA BUSINESS. OLUSEGUN ODESINA
IS A MEMBER OF OUR ACADEMIC COUNCIL AND SERVES ON OUR MATH,
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE.
HE IS PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER ELECTRONICS & GRAPHICS
TECHNOLOGY AT CENTRAL CT STATE UNIVERSITY.
HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATION MANAGEMENT.
DANA WILKIE TEACHES SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. SHE
IS THE DEAN OF ADJUNCT FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND
ONLINE EDUCATION AT WESTCHESTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
ELIZABETH WRIGHT TEACHES OUR CORNERSTONE COURSE.
SHE ALSO IS A TEACHER OF ENGLISH AT COVENTRY HIGH SCHOOL.
ORLANDO WRIGHT TEACHES OUR CHILDREN, SCHOOL AND
COMMUNITY COURSE. HE IS A SUPERVISOR AT THE CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH & ADDICTION SERVICES.
BEVERLY WALL IS PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF ENGLISH
AT TRINITY COLLEGE. SHE TEACHES OUR IDS 101 AND CAPSTONE
COURSES. BEV, PLEASE COME FORWARD FOR A MOMENT? WE WANT TO RECOGNIZE
BEV AS OUR TEACHER OF THE YEAR FOR HER OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO
THE COLLEGE AND HER STUDENTS. CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU.
[ APPLAUSE ] I ALSO WANT TO INTRODUCE DOCTOR EMILY LEWIS, OUR ACADEMIC DEAN. EMILY, PLEASE
STAND? [ APPLAUSE ] LET’S GIVE THEM A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
[ APPLAUSE ] FOR OVER A DECADE, CHARTER OAK
HAS BEEN AWARDING HONORS TO GRADUATES FOR OUTSTANDING
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE, AND WE ARE PLEASED TO HAVE MANY HONORS
GRADUATES PARTICIPATING IN COMMENCEMENT TODAY. THEY ARE
WEARING GOLD CORDS AND THE HONORS DESIGNATION WILL BE NOTED
WHEN WE INTRODUCE THEM LATER IN THE CEREMONY.
THIS MORNING, SOME OF THESE HONORS STUDENTS WERE INDUCTED
INTO THE ALPHA SIGMA LAMBDA HONOR SOCIETY, THE NATIONAL
HONOR SOCIETY FOR IN AN‑TRADITIONAL STUDENTS. THEY ARE NOTED
IN THE PROGRAM. I ASK THE STAFF, FACULTY AND STUDENTS STAND AND BE RECOGNIZED. SO IF YOU’RE
OUT IN THE AUDIENCE, PLEASE STAND AND LET’S GIVE THEM A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
[ APPLAUSE ] DR. PAULINE CLIFFORD, A MEMBER
OF THE ACADEMIC COUNCIL, WILL READ THE NAMES OF OUR DORIS G.
CASSIDAY AWARD RECIPIENTS AND DR. EMILY LEWIS, ACADEMIC DEAN,
WILL READ THE NAMES OF OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
RECIPIENTS. THE DORIS G. CASSIDAY AWARD IS
GIVEN TO THOSE GRADUATES WHO HAVE ACHIEVED EXCELLENCE IN
INNOVATIVE LEARNING AND WHO EXEMPLIFY THE ESSENCE OF THE
CHARTER OAK MISSION. WITH THIS AWARD, THE COLLEGE RECOGNIZES
THE INDIVIDUALS WHO AVAIL THEMSELVES FULLY OF A BROAD
RANGE OF LEARNING OPTIONS. THESE OPTIONS INCLUDE DISTANCE
LEARNING, TESTING, PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT, CONTRACT LEARNING,
MILITARY SERVICE TRAINING SCHOOL COURSES, AND OTHER
NON‑COLLEGIATE SPONSORED INSTRUCTION, WHICH HAS BEEN
EVALUATED FOR CREDIT, AS WELL AS CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION. THE
AWARD WAS SO NAMED TO HONOR DORIS CASSIDAY WHO IS ONE OF THE
FOUNDERS OF OUR COLLEGE. IN ADDITION, SHE WAS THE FIRST
CHAIR OF OUR GOVERNING BOARD, FIRST FOUNDATION PRESIDENT, AND
SHE WAS A STUDENT ADVISOR FOR THIRTY YEARS – UP UNTIL HER
DEATH LAST YEAR. THE AWARD WILL CONTINUE ON IN MEMORY OF HER
DEDICATION AND LEADERSHIP THAT SHE PROVIDED TO THE COLLEGE.
IT IS MY PLEASURE TO CALL THE FOLLOWING MEMBER OF THIS YEAR’S
GRADUATING CLASS TO THE STAGE TO RECEIVE THE DORIS G. CASSIDAY
AWARD: ETHAN YORK.
[ APPLAUSE ] ETHAN YORK IS RECEIVING HIS
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN GENERAL STUDIES. HE HAS EARNED
HIS DEGREE BY TAKING 37 STANDARDIZED EXAMS FOR A TOTAL
OF 111 CREDITS, 3 CREDITS FROM A UNIVERSITY, AND 7 CREDITS FROM
CHARTER OAK. HE IS FROM GREENFIELD, WISCONSIN.
FOUR OTHER RECIPIENTS COULD NOT BE WITH US TODAY.
DAVID J. CHUHTA IS GRADUATING WITH A BACHELOR OF ARTS WITH A
CONCENTRATION IN HISTORY. HIS DEGREE IS COMPRISED OF 30
CREDITS FROM STANDARDIZED TESTS, 14 FROM MILITARY MOS, 59
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS, 6 FROM THE AMERICAN MILITARY
UNIVERSITY AND 24 CREDITS FROM CHARTER OAK COURSES. DAVID
RESIDES IN TRUMBULL, CT. CHANA R. DRASNIN IS RECEIVING
HER BACHELOR OF ARTS WITH A CONCENTRATION IN LIBERAL STUDIES
FOCUSING ON JUDAIC STUDIES. SHE HAS 27 CREDITS FROM ZAIDNER
INSTITUTE, 18 CREDITS FROM STANDARDIZED TESTS, 42 CREDITS
FROM ME’OHR BAIS YAAKOV IN JERUSALEM, 6 CREDITS FROM THE
RECHTSCHAFFEN INSTITUTE OF JUDAIC STUDIES, 6 CREDITS FROM
THE COOPERSMITH, 16 CREDITS FROM FOREIGN COLLEGES, AND 6 CREDITS
FROM CHARTER OAK COURSES. CHANA RESIDES IN OAK PARK, MICHIGAN.
ERIC GAUVIN IS RECEIVING A BACHELOR OF ARTS WITH A
CONCENTRATION IN PUBLIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION. HE HAS 9
CREDITS FROM THE POLICE ACADEMY, 18 COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS, 5
MILITARY SCHOOL CREDITS, 15 CREDITS FROM HIS MILITARY MOS, 9
CREDITS FROM FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE (FEMA) AND
64 CREDITS FROM CHARTER OAK COURSES. ERIC RESIDES IN
KENSINGTON, CT. DALIA OZIEL IS RECEIVING A
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN INDIVIDUALIZED STUDIES WITH A
FOCUS ON JUDAIC STUDIES. SHE EARNED 48 CREDITS AT TOURO
COLLEGE, 12 CREDITS FROM STANDARDIZED TESTING, 64 CREDITS
FROM ME’OHR BAIS YAAKOV IN JERUSALEM, AND 6 CREDITS FROM
CHARTER OAK COURSES. CONGRATULATIONS DORIS G.
CASSIDAY AWARD RECIPIENTS. [ APPLAUSE ]
CONGRATULATIONS. THIS YEAR, CHARTER OAK IS
RECOGNIZING THOSE GRADUATES WHO HAVE ACHIEVED THE HIGHEST
OVERALL GRADE POINT AVERAGE IN THEIR CLASS AND THE HIGHEST
GRADE POINT AVERAGE IN COURSES COMPLETED AT CHARTER OAK STATE
COLLEGE. ONE IS WITH US TODAY—ANNA RITA TORNELLO.
ANNA? [ APPLAUSE ]
WESTON, CONNECTICUT. SHE IS GRADUATING WITH A GRADE POINT
AVERAGE OF 4.0 WITH A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PUBLIC SAFETY
ADMINISTRATION. GIVE HER A HAND.
[ APPLAUSE ] AS NOTED IN THE PROGRAM, THE
OTHER RECIPIENTS ARE NATASHA BUTCHER FROM STRATFORD,
CONNECTICUT, BRIAN DEVINE FROM SHELTON, CONNECTICUT, DANIEL
FRENCH FROM MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT AND
PEGGY GOODEW
FROM RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT. CAN YOU GIVE THEM A HAND AS WELL?
[ APPLAUSE ] THANK YOU.
IN 1998, OUR BOARD BEGAN AWARDING THE HONORARY DEGREE,
DOCTOR OF HUMANE LETTERS, TO RECOGNIZE INDIVIDUALS WHO
EXEMPLIFIED THE SPIRIT OF THE COLLEGE. THIS YEAR THE HONORARY
DEGREE COMMITTEE HAS CHOSEN REGINA BARRECA.
I CALL UPON DR. RUTH MACDONALD, TO READ THE CITATION.
DR. BARRECA, PRESIDENT KLONOSKI, REGINA, WOULD YOU PLEASE CONVENE AT THE MAIN
PODIUM AND BRING THE WARDROBE ACCESSORY. EACH YEAR, THIS HONORARY DEGREE
IS AWARDED BY THE CONNECTICUT BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER
EDUCATION AND CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS MADE AN
EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COLLEGE AND TO LOCAL, NATIONAL
AND/OR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITIES AND WHO HAVE INFLUENCED ADVANCES
WITHIN THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL FIELDS. AT THIS 2016
COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY, THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND THE COLLEGE ARE
AWARDING THE HONORARY DEGREE, DOCTOR OF HUMANE LETTERS, TO
REGINA BARRECA. [ APPLAUSE ]
THERE’S MORE TO SAY! DR. BARRECA IS AN AMERICAN
ACADEMIC AND HUMORIST. AND SAYING SHE’S A HUMORIST IS A BIG UNDERSTATEMENT. SHE IS A
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AND FEMINIST THEORY AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT AND AFTER THIS SPEECH WE’LL ALL WANT TO GET INTO
HER CLASS. AND SHE IS WINNER OF UCONN’S HIGHEST AWARD
FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING. HER BACHELOR’S DEGREE IS FROM DARTMOUTH
WHERE SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE NAMED ALUMNI SCHOLAR; HER
M.S. IS FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, WHERE SHE WAS A
REYNOLD’S FELLOW, AND HER PH.D. IS FROM THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF
NEW YORK. HER WEEKLY COLUMNS FOR THE HARTFORD COURANT ARE
BEING COMPOSED EVEN AS WE SPEAK. I UNDERSTAND THERE’S GOING TO BE A PUN ON FRIDAY. TAKE
A LOOK. AND THEY’RE DISTRIBUTED INTERNATIONALLY BY
THE TRIBUNE CO. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF TEN BOOKS,
SEVERAL OF WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSLATED INTO CHINESE, GERMAN,
SPANISH AND JAPANESE. AND I’M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT HUMOR IN JAP SNEEZE. SHE’S
A NOTED PUBLIC SPEAKER, BARRECA LECTURES
NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY ABOUT A VARIETY OF TOPICS.
WE ARE HONORED TO AWARD HER WITH THIS HONORARY DEGREE TODAY.
[ APPLAUSE ] THERE’S A FORMAL LANGUAGE OF .
BY VIRTUE OF THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN ME AS PRESIDENT, THE
CONNECTICUT BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION CONCURRING, I
CONFER UPON YOU THE DEGREE, HONORIS CAUSA, AND INVEST YOU
WITH ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES THEREUNTO. IN TOKEN
THEREOF I HAND TO YOU THE DIPLOMA AND DIRECT THAT YOU BE
VESTED WITH THE HOOD APPROPRIATE TO YOUR DEGREE.
[ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU!
[ APPLAUSE ]>>CLASS OF 2016! CONGRATULATIONS!
[ APPLAUSE ] YOU DID IT! YOU REALLY DID IT! RIGHT? THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T THINK YOU
WERE GOING TO DO IT. YOU WANT TO THINK OF ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE YOU HAVE TO GIVE THANKS
TO WHO ARE HERE TODAY AND WHO ARE NOT HERE TODAY AND THOSE CHEERING YOU ON FROM PARTS
OF THE WORLD AND THE PAST AND ALL THE PEOPLE. BUT JUST DO ME A FAVOR, BECAUSE I’M SICILIAN.
KEEP A THOUGHT FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAID, EH, THEY’LL NEVER FINISH. BECAUSE I’M SURE
THAT THERE WERE DAYS WHEN THOSE PEOPLE INSPIRED YOU JUST AS MUCH AS THE PEOPLE WHO TOLD YOU
THAT YOU WERE GOING TO GO OUT THERE AND DO IT AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT. SOMETIMES
WE HAVE TO PROVE OURSELVES, DESPITE WHAT WE’RE HEARING, NOT ONLY BECAUSE OF WHAT WE’RE HEARING.
AND I NOW CONSIDER MYSELF PART OF THE CHARTER OAK COLLEGE OF 2016. SO I’M PART OF THIS GROUP
NOW. SO THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]
SO CONGRATULATIONS, AND AS EVERYBODY SAID TO THE PROUD FAMILIES, TO THE RELIEVED FAMILIES,
RIGHT? THERE’S A LOT OF RELIEF IN THE ROOM. LIKE REALLY THEY’RE DONE, THIS IS GREAT. TO
THE THOROUGHLY EXHAUSTED TEACHERS, PROFESSORS, SUPPORT HERE AT CHARTER OAK. I’M HONORED TO
BE PART OF THE CELEBRATION AND I’M VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE INVITATION. AND I LOVE GRADUATION
CEREMONIES. BECAUSE YOU CAN COUNT ON THE FACT THAT EVERYBODY AT A GRADUATION CEREMONY IS
HAPPY, RIGHT? YOU CAN’T COUNT ON THAT AT A WEDDING.
[ LAUGHTER ] THERE’S ALWAYS SOMEBODY AT A WEDDING GOING,
“I DON’T THINK THIS IS GONNA LAST”. ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT A DIPLOMA IS THEY CANNOT
TAKE THE DIPLOMA AWAY FROM YOU. [ APPLAUSE ] YOU CAN NEVER, EVER HAVE THIS
TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU. AND I GREW UP IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. SO HAVING
SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY COULDN’T TAKE AWAY FROM ME WAS VERY IMPORTANT.
[ LAUGHTER ] AND, SO HERE’S A COUPLE OF PIECES OF ADVICE,
JUST ABOUT TODAY THAT I WANT TO GIVE YOU. FIRST OF ALL, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK
YOU LOOK LIKE, GRADUATES. YOU LOOK PERFECT IN YOUR GRADUATION GOWN, WHICH MEANS YOU’RE
GOING TO LET ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU, TAKE THAT PICTURE. SO EVERYBODY IN
THIS ROOM HEARD ME SAY THAT. YOU CAN COME TO ME IF THEY’RE GIVING YOU TROUBLE. YOU ARE
ALLOWED TO TAKE ANY PICTURE OF THE GRADUATE THAT YOU’RE HERE SUPPORTING AND THEY’RE NOT
GOING I’M GOING TO RUIN MY HAIR, I CAN’T DO THIS, I DON’T LOOK GOOD, TAKE IT AGAIN. THIS
IS NOT LIKE YOU’RE BEYONCE GOING NO PICTURES. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN
TODAY, BECAUSE TODAY IS A BIG DEAL. CHARTER OAK HAS GIVEN YOU THE PERFECT EDUCATION FOR
WHATEVER IT IS YOU NEED TO DO NEXT. AND UNLIKE A LOT OF GRADUATES, YOU HAVE TAKEN, MANY OF
YOU, A CIRCUITIOUS ROUTE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW AND YOU DESERVE WHATEVER GOLD STARS
AND EXTRA CREDIT AND PATS ON THE BACK THAT THE WORLD CAN GIVE YOU, BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T
TAKE THE EASY PATH TO BE HERE TODAY. AND THAT GETS A LOT OF SPECIAL CREDIT AND EXTRA ATTENTION.
ONE REASON THEY CALL THIS CELEBRATION A COMMENCEMENT IS BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT A NEW BEGINNING. IT’S
THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT YOU’RE NOW BETTER PREPARED FOR WHATEVER IS AHEAD, AND MORE EAGER
TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO WITH THIS IS OF COURSE NOT JUST TO MAKE
SURE THAT THE DOOR HAS BEEN OPENED FOR YOU AS IT HAS BEEN, AND AGAIN, COULD WE HAVE ANOTHER
ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR YOUR STUDENT SPEAKER? SHE WAS ASTONISHING.
[ APPLAUSE ] BUT THAT PART OF WHAT THE RESPONSIBILITY IS
THAT YOU HAVE NOW IS TO MAKE SURE NOT THAT THE DOOR IS OPEN FOR OTHERS, BUT THAT YOU
NEED TO TAKE THE WALLS THAT THAT DOOR IS IN DOWN. YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE WHO
MIGHT NOT HAVE TRADITIONALLY HAD ACCESS TO EDUCATION, HAD OTHER PATHWAYS TO MAKE SURE
THEY GOT THE RESOURCES AND ACCESS TO THE RESOURCES ACTUALLY GET THEM. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT’S
IMPORTANT ABOUT EDUCATION OR ONE OF THE WAYS TO TELL WHATEVER IS IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD
IS TO SEE FOR HOW LONG THEY TRIED TO STOP CERTAIN KINDS OF PEOPLE FROM GETTING IT. THINK
ABOUT HOW LONG IT WAS BEFORE WOMEN WERE PERMITTED A COLLEGE DEGREE. THINK ABOUT HOW LONG IT
WAS BEFORE PEOPLE OF COLOR WERE ADMITTED INTO COLLEGES THAT GAVE THEM A COLLEGE DEGREE.
THINK OF HOW LONG IT WAS BEFORE PEOPLE WHO WERE JEWS, PEOPLE WHO WERE MUSLIMS, ANYBODY
WITH ANY KIND OF DIFFERENCE. THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW EDUCATION WAS IMPORTANT. THEY TRIED TO
KEEP IT AWAY FROM A LOT OF US. AND MAYBE LIKE SOME OF YOU I WAS THE FIRST ONE IN MY FAMILY
EVER TO GO TO COLLEGE. I WAS THE FIRST GIRL IN MY FAMILY EVER TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL
IN A TIMELY FASHION. IT WAS NOT WHAT GIRLS IN MY FAMILY DID. THEY DID HAIR AND NAILS.
AND THAT WAS FINE. THEY HAD GREAT HAIR AND GREAT NAILS, BUT I WENT TO COLLEGE BECAUSE
THERE WAS A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER THAT I HAD WHO, IN 11TH GRADE, SAID THE SCHOOL I WENT
TO IS ADMITTING BROADS. I’M NOT KIDDING. HE SAID YOU SHOULD APPLY. I WENT TO A PSYCHIC.
OKAY? I WAS NOT EXACTLY ON THE CAREER TRACK IN HIGH SCHOOL, YOU KNOW SND SO I WENT TO
A PSYCHIC. SHE SAID I THINK YOU’RE GOING TO BE LIVING BROOKLYN I WAS LIKE, OKAY. THIS
IS SORT OF AN INTERESTING THING. MY AUNTS ‑‑ MY MOTHER DIED WHEN I WAS A KID, I WAS RAISED
BY MY ITALIAN AUNTS. THEY CROSSED BARRIERS, THEY CROSSED RACIAL BARRIERS, ETHNIC BARRIERS.
SOME OF YOU STILL KNOW THESE WOMEN. THEY WERE THREE‑FOOT‑THREE, THEY ALL WEIGHED 850
POUNDS, THEY ALL WORE FLORAL PRINT DRESSES AT ALL TIMES. DO YOU KNOW THESE WOMEN? THEY
LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE OTTOMANS SCATTERED AROUND THE FLOOR. THE ONLY THING MISSING WAS THE
BUTTON ON TOP OF THE HEAD. AND I WENT UP TO ONE OF THEM AND I SAID AUNT JOSEPHINE, I’M
GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE, SHE WAS STIRRING THE POT OF SAUCE, THE RED GRAVY, THAT HAD BEEN
ON THE STOVE SINCE 1948. BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE HOT FOOD ON THE STOVE IN CASE
SOMEBODY GOT PAROLED. [ LAUGHTER ]
SOME OF YOU THINK I’M KIDDING. [ LAUGHTER ]
AND I WENT UP TO HER AND I SAID I’M GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE AND SHE PAUSED IN THE STIRRING.
SO I KNEW LIKE THE EARTH TILTED ON ITS AXIS A LITTLE BIT AND I SAID I’M GOING TO GO TO
COLLEGE. SHE WAS WORRIED ABOUT THE MONEY, I SAID I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP, I GOT WORK STUDY,
I GOT STUDENT LOANS SHE SAID WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO COLLEGE. I SAID I’M GOING TO SCHOOL
IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, THIS PLACE CALLED DARTMOUTH. SHE SAID YOU’RE GOING TO SCHOOL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE?
YOU’RE PREGNANT, RIGHT? [ LAUGHTER ]
WHY ELSE WOULD AN 18‑YEAR‑OLD LEAVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD. I SAID NO, I’M GOOD AT SCHOOL,
I GOT GOOD GRADES. SHE SAID IT HAPPENED TO YOUR COUSIN ELAINE. YOU CAN ALWAYS COME HOME.
SO I GO TO COLLEGE. NOW, I GO TO COLLEGE IN 1975. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WEREN’T MATH MAJORS,
THAT MEANS I’M 59. OKAY? I’M 59 YEARS OLD AND I WEIGH 157 POUNDS. THAT’S ALL THE WOMEN
IN THE AUDIENCE WANT TO KNOW. [ LAUGHTER ]
WOMEN WANT TO KNOW HOW OLD THE WOMEN BEHIND THE MIC IS AND HOW MUCH SHE WEIGHS. MEN JUST
CARE IF YOU’RE OVER 18. THAT’S IT. WOMEN SIT THERE TRYING TO GUESS EACH OTHER’S WEIGHT
AND AGE LIKE WE’RE GOING TO WIN A PRIZE AT THE STATE FAIR. I WENT TO COLLEGE IN 1975.
THE OTHER GIRLS ADMITTED TO THE COLLEGE LOOKED LIKE GWENYTH PALTROW. I WALKED AND THINKING
I’VE GOT NINE MONTHS BEFORE ANYBODY EXPECTS ME BACK. I LEARNED A LOT FROM MY EDUCATION,
WHAT I ALSO LEARNED IS HOW TO MAKE TROUBLE, HOW TO SPEAK UP. AND ESPECIALLY HOW TO KEEP
HUMOR IN OUR LIVES. HUMOR IS ESSENTIAL. HAVING A GOOD TIME IS ESSENTIAL. LAUGHING AT THE
WORLD’S ABSURDITIES DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU’RE NOT TAKING THEM SERIOUSLY. IT JUST MEANS YOU’RE
NOT TAKING YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY. BUT YOUR JOB IS NOW TO GO OUT AND TO MAKE SURE THAT
THINGS CHANGE. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE WORLD! IT’S YOUR WORLD NOW. YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
BECAUSE YOU HAVE A PRIVILEGE THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE NOT HAD. AND SO YOU GO OUT, YOU NEED
TO GO OUT THERE AND TO MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD, RIGHT? SO YOU NEED TO TAKE A RISK. BEING A
LEADER MEANS TAKING A RISK. IT MEANS SAYING SOMETHING THAT YOU FEEL DEEPLY ABOUT. IT MEANS
WHEN SOMEBODY TELLS YOU A JOKE THAT YOU FIND OFFENSIVE, YOU DON’T LAUGH JUST TO GET RID
OF THEM, YOU GO, YOU KNOW WHAT? I’LL FORGIVE YOU FOR TELLING ME THAT JOKE IF YOU FORGIVE
ME FOR NOT LAUGHING. I’LL TAKE APPLAUSE FOR THAT.
[ APPLAUSE ] YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE TO SPEAK
UP EVEN IF PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO AGREE WITH YOU. AND THAT YOU REALIZE ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE
BEING FUNNY, EVEN IF SOMEBODY DOESN’T LAUGH AND YOU’VE MADE A GOOD POINT, WHAT YOU HAVEN’T
MADE IS A MISTAKE. WHAT YOU’VE MADE IS A REALLY GOOD BEGINNING. CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF
2016! TO THIS REALLY GOOD BEGINNING. THANK YOU.
[ APPLAUSE ]>>THAT’S A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW. THANK YOU,
DR. BARRECA. MAY I HAVE THE HOUSE LIGHTS
PLEASE? BEFORE PROVOST ADAMS INTRODUCES
THE UNDERGRADUATE CANDIDATES FOR DEGREES, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A
FEW MOMENTS TO RECOGNIZE OUR GRADUATING VETERANS, THOSE ON
ACTIVE DUTY, AND THOSE IN GUARD AND RESERVE UNITS WHO ARE
WEARING RED, WHITE AND BLUE CORDS TODAY. I WOULD ALSO LIKE
TO RECOGNIZE ALL OF THE CURRENT AND FORMER MEMBERS OF THE
MILITARY WHO ARE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY.
WOULD ALL ACTIVE AND INACTIVE MILITARY PERSONNEL PLEASE STAND?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] I’M SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU APPLAUD, BUT YOU
FIGURED THAT OUT FOR YOURSELVES. WELL DONE, THANK YOU.
>>NOW IT’S THE TIME THAT ALL OF YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
GRADUATES, IT IS NOW TIME TO RECOGNIZE YOUR HARD WORK AND THE
COMPLETION OF AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR EDUCATION WITH THE
CONFERRAL OF YOUR DEGREE. GRADUATES, PLEASE STAND.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] ON BEHALF OF THE FACULTY OF
CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE, I CONGRATULATE EACH OF YOU ON
COMPLETING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR DEGREE. THE FACULTY HAS
SPENT MANY HOURS REVIEWING YOUR PROGRAMS OF STUDY AND GRADING
YOUR CAPSTONE PROJECTS. WE ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE CHALLENGES
THAT YOU HAVE OVERCOME. WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR HARD WORK
AND PERSEVERANCE. YOUR DEGREE SIGNIFIES THAT YOU HAVE MET THE
HIGH STANDARDS THAT WE HAVE SET FOR YOU AND THAT YOU ACHIEVED
YOUR EDUCATIONAL GOAL. WE HOPE THAT WITH YOUR DEGREE IN HAND
YOU WILL MOVE FORWARD IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIVES AND ON TO
FUTURE STUDY AS LIFE‑LONG LEARNERS.
WE ARE PROUD OF YOU AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR FINE WORK IN
UPHOLDING CHARTER OAK’S TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE.
DR. ADAMS, THE FACULTY HAS EXAMINED THE RECORDS OF THESE
CANDIDATES AND BY UNANIMOUS ACTION RECOMMENDS THEIR
RESPECTIVE AWARDS. THESE CANDIDATES HAVE COMPLETED
ALL THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THEIR DEGREES. WITH THE
RECOMMENDATION OF THE FACULTY OF CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE, I AM
PLEASED TO PRESENT THEM TO YOU THE PRESIDENT
FOR THE CONFERRING OF THEIR DEGREES.
WITH THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE FACULTY AND PROVOST, BY THE
AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO ME BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND BY THE
STATE OF CONNECTICUT, I HEREBY CONFER UPON EACH OF YOU THE
DEGREE OF ASSOCIATE OR BACHELOR AS APPROPRIATE, WITH ALL THE
RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES PERTAINING
THERETO. CONGRATULATIONS!
[ APPLAUSE ] PRESIDENT KLONOSKI AND DR. ADAMS
WILL HAND OUT THE DIPLOMAS. GRADUATES, PLEASE BE SEATED AND
YOU WILL BE DIRECTED TO COME FORWARD TO RECEIVE YOUR DIPLOMA.
WE HAVE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURES OF
THE GRADUATES RECEIVING THEIR DEGREES SO I ASK THAT MEMBERS OF
THE AUDIENCE NOT COME TO THE FRONT FOR PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS
AS IT INTERFERES WITH THE MOVEMENT OF THE GRADUATES. AS
YOU HEARD EARLIER, WE ARE WEB CASTING COMMENCEMENT. AFTER WE
READ THE NAMES OF THE GRADUATES WHO ARE PRESENT, I WILL BE
READING THE NAMES OF GRADUATES WHO COULD NOT BE HERE BUT ARE
PARTICIPATING VIRTUALLY. MARSHAL, PLEASE BEGIN.
[NAMES BEING READ] NOW FOR THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE. [NAMES BEING
READ]>>NOW,
THE FOLLOWING GRADUATES HAVE REQUESTED TO PARTICIPATE VIA THE
ASSOCIATE OF SCIENCE: DEANN R. COOK
FLORIDA>>
ERIC GAUVIN HONORS
CONNECTICUT. KAREN LYNN GRASSO‑JASUTA
HONORS FROM PENNSYLVANIA
KIMBERLY HALEY. CONNECTICUT
JORDAN ELIZABETH HEYMAN HONORS
FROM TEXAS 6789 ANGELA T. HYPOLITE
GEORGIA. JESSICA LYNN JESS
CONNECTICUT. JENNIFER KREGER
CALIFORNIA. ELAINE OLMER‑LUTHER
CONNECTICUT. CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2016!
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] ONCE AGAIN, CONGRATULATIONS.
YOU MAY NOW MOVE THE TASSELS ON YOUR CAPS FROM RIGHT TO LEFT.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] NOW THAT YOU ARE GRADUATES, I
WANT TO CALL UPON CHRISTOPHER MAY, PRESIDENT OF
THE ALUMNI
ASSOCIATION, TO WELCOME YOU AS CHARTER OAK ALUMNI.
[ APPLAUSE ]>>YOU DEFINITELY DID IT! CONGRATULATIONS,
GRADUATING CLASS OF 2016. YOU ARE NOW CHARTER OAK
ALUMNI. AS PRESIDENT OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, I WANT TO
ENCOURAGE YOU TO BECOME A MEMBER. THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
PROVIDES PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES, OFFERS
SUPPORT TO GRADUATES WHO WISH TO FURTHER THEIR EDUCATION OR
CAREERS IN CONNECTICUT AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, AND HELPS
YOU STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR COLLEGE AND FELLOW ALUMS THROUGH
THE CONNECTIONS NEWSLETTER. WE INVITE YOU TO BE AN ACTIVE
MEMBER BY PARTICIPATING IN EVENTS, BY SHARING YOUR
KNOWLEDGE WITH OTHERS, BY SERVING ON THE ALUMNI
ASSOCIATION BOARD OR THROUGH VOLUNTEERING AND, OF COURSE, BY
CONTINUING TO PROMOTE YOUR ALMA MATER TO OTHER ADULTS WHO WANT
TO RETURN TO COLLEGE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A
CONNECTICUT RESIDENT TO BE A PARTICIPATING MEMBER.  ONE OF
THE ADVANTAGES OF CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE IS THE LONG
DISTANCE LEARNING EXPERIENCE BECAUSE WE NOW KNOW HOW TO
UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY TO ENABLE US TO REACH OUT AND COMMUNICATE
WITH EACH OTHER EFFECTIVELY. WE CAN TELECONFERENCE YOU IN FOR
MEETINGS AND MANY EVENTS ARE WEB CAST.
PLEASE VISIT OUR TABLE IN THE STUDENT CENTER SO WE MAY HAVE
THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET YOU, SO WE CAN UPDATE YOUR CONTACT
INFORMATION, AND SO YOU CAN JOIN THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.
IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO ONCE AGAIN
CONGRATULATE EACH OF YOU ON YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND WELCOME YOU
AS AN OFFICIAL MEMBER OF THE CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE ALUMNI
COMMUNITY. [ APPLAUSE ]
THANK YOU, CHRISTOPHER. AND NOW THE LAST SPEECH BETWEEN YOU AND THE
PARTY THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN THIS IS OVER.
GRADUATES, LET ME BEGIN BY CONGRATULATING ALL OF YOU ON
YOUR ACHIEVEMENT.  MOST OF YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT THIS MOMENT
ALONG A NON‑TRADITIONAL PATH, OFTEN AFTER A NUMBER OF FALSE
STARTS, AND OVER FAR MORE THAN THE USUAL NUMBER OF YEARS. 
MANY OF YOU WERE STOPPED IN YOUR PROGRESS BY FAMILY
RESPONSIBILITIES. YOU PUT THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AHEAD OF YOUR
OWN, AND THAT MEANT YOUR EDUCATION WAS DELAYED. SO I
KNOW HOW MUCH IT MEANS TO YOU THAT YOU WERE FINALLY ABLE TO
FINISH YOUR DEGREE. BUT EVEN AS YOU LABORED TO FINISH YOUR
EDUCATION, YOU NEEDED TO BALANCE PAPERS AND TESTS WITH WORK AND
FAMILY. I KNOW YOU WROTE ESSAYS WHILE YOUR SPOUSE ASKED WHEN YOU
WOULD BE DONE, AND YOU READ COURSE MATERIALS WHILE YOU
WATCHED YOUR KIDS PLAYING IN THE PARK. YOU PERSISTED THROUGH
LATE NIGHTS, EARLY MORNINGS, HOLIDAYS, AND VACATIONS. YOU
CURSED BLACKBOARD WHEN IT ATE YOUR SUBMISSIONS, AND YOU SWORE
THAT IF YOU HAD TO RESPOND TO ONE MORE THREADED DISCUSSION
QUESTION, YOUR HEAD WOULD EXPLODE. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE MY
WIFE IS A CHARTER OAK GRAD AND AND I SUSPECT I WILL SEE SOME OF
YOU AT THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS THIS EVENING. I AM NOT THE ONLY
PROUD RELATIVE PICKING UP A DINNER CHECK LATER, AM I? YOU
EARNED ALL OF THIS LOVE. AND YOU SHOULD BREATHE DEEPLY AND
ENJOY THIS DAY. YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENT IS ALL THE
SWEETER BECAUSE IT WAS HARD….BECAUSE IT TOOK SO MUCH
MORE DISCIPLINE. FINISHING A COLLEGE DEGREE WHILE YOU WORKED
AND TOOK CARE OF A FAMILY IS NO
SMALL THING. AND NOW THAT GOAL IS MET. BUT I SUSPECT YOU KNOW
THAT THIS IS NOT THE END OF YOUR JOURNEY. ADULT GRADUATES
UNDERSTAND BETTER THAN ANYONE THAT LEARNING IS CONSTANT, AND
NEW CHALLENGES ARE ALWAYS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. SO TAKE A
FEW DAYS OFF, BUT STAY ALERT. LOOK FOR YOUR NEXT MOUNTAIN. BE
READY TO SAY YES WHEN YOU ARE ASKED IF YOU ARE UP FOR A
CHALLENGE. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALL READY TO MAKE THE WORLD A
BETTER PLACE. AND WHEN YOU ANSWER THE BELL FOR THAT NEW
CHALLENGE—WHETHER IT IS A PROMOTION, A GRADUATE DEGREE, OR
A NEW JOB—YOU SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT YOU CAN
DO IT. I CAN GIVE YOU A LONG LIST OF CHARTER OAK ALUMS WHO
HAVE GONE ON TO PROFESSIONAL DEGREES, BETTER JOBS, AND ALL
SORTS OF PUBLIC SERVICE. THEY SHARE THEIR SUCCESSES WITH US
WHEN THEY PAY IT FORWARD WITH CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COSC
FOUNDATION. THEY TELL ME AND I AM TELLING YOU: IF YOU CAN
FINISH A COLLEGE DEGREE AS AN ADULT, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! AND
SPEAKING OF ALUMS, WHICH YOU NOW ARE, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR
CHOOSING CHARTER OAK AS
YOUR ALMA MATER. WE KNOW THAT
CHARTER OAK WAS NOT YOUR FIRST COLLEGE, AND IT IS JUST ONE OF
MANY THAT YOU COULD HAVE CHOSEN, SO WE ARE HONORED THAT IT IS THE
ONE FROM WHICH YOU HAVE GRADUATED. BY THE WAY, CHARTER
OAK ISN’T OUR COLLEGE; IT IS YOURS. EVERYWHERE YOU GO, YOU
BRING US WITH YOU AND WITH YOUR EVERY ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU GROW
OUR IMPACT. SO IF YOU WERE THINKING THAT TODAY IS THE LAST
TIME YOU WOULD FEEL LIKE CHARTER OAK IS YOUR HOME, YOU ARE WRONG.
THIS SCHOOL WILL BE YOUR HOME FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. WE
LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING ABOUT YOUR SUCCESSES, AND WE ARE
ALWAYS READY TO OFFER TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THE SAME
SUPPORT WE PROVIDED TO YOU. NOW ONE LAST ITEM BEFORE I LET
YOU GO. NONE OF US ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS ALONE. WHEN YOU
WERE OFF STUDYING OR READING OR WRITING, I BET THERE WAS SOMEONE
COOKING DINNER, PAYING BILLS, AND MANAGING THE KIDS. WHEN YOU
WERE TIRED OR DEFEATED, I’LL BET THERE WAS SOMEONE PICKING YOU
UP, DUSTING YOU OFF, AND SENDING YOU BACK INTO THE BATTLE. I
THINK SOME OF THOSE FOLKS ARE HERE TODAY. GRADUATES, HOW
ABOUT STANDING UP AND THANKING YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM!!
[ APPLAUSE ] THANK YOU. PLEASE BE SEATED.
I’D LIKE TO INVITE ANNA RITA TORNELLO, CLASS OF 2016, TO JOIN
ME ON STAGE TO SING GOD BLESS AMERICA.
ANNA? GOD BLESS AMERICA.
LAND THAT I LOVE
STAND BESIDE HER AND GUIDE HER
THROUGH THE NIGHT WITH THE LIGHT
FROM ABOVE FROM THE MOUNTAINS
TO THE PRAIRIES
TO THE OCEANS WHITE WITH FOAM
GOD BLESS AMERICA MY HOME SWEET HOME
GOD BLESS AMERICA MY HOME SWEET HOME
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] THANK YOU, ANNA.
PLEASE BE SEATED THIS CONCLUDES OUR COMMENCEMENT
CEREMONY. I ASK THAT ALL GUESTS STAY SEATED UNTIL THE PLATFORM
PARTY AND
THE GRADUATES EXIT.
PLEASE EXIT IN A SINGLE LINE BEHIND THE CHARTER OAK STAFF
MEMBER ASSIGNED TO
YOUR SEATING SECTION.
I INVITE EVERYONE TO THE RECEPTION IN ALUMNI HALL OF THE
STUDENT CENTER WHERE YOU CAN MEET THE
CHARTER OAK FACULTY AND
STAFF. THANK YOU.
[ APPLAUSE ]

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