The Class of 2014 has officially begun the next chapter of their life’s journey. Here’s a brief recap of the momentous occasion (and check that hashtag online for more!)
The principles of human compassion are as old as civilization itself, Joshua Kraft told the graduates at Bay Path College’s 117th commencement. He spoke on the work of Margaret Mead, the pioneering American anthropologist, who learned from the study of ancient cultures that humanity has always had a conscience.
That is a message for the Class of 2014 to take into the world, Kraft told the graduates and their guests at the MassMutual Center this past Saturday, May 10. “I encourage you to give the gift of hope and compassion,” he said.
Kraft is the President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. Together with Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, the pair spoke to the commencement crowd on the subjects of giving back to one’s community. Roig-DeBellis turned the horrific event at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where she was a teacher during the tragedy, into the organization Classes 4 Classes. Both were given Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at commencement.
Roig-DeBellis spoke on the subject of teaching children to be caring, and that “hope is the reason we are here today.” Graduates should enter the world ready to be agents to make that happen, she said, adding the encouragement: “Hope for change.”
Several students were honored with awards in keeping with the philosophies of service and philanthropy. Stephanie Belsen ‘14, of Windsor Locks, Conn., is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Eagle Award. It is given to the Bay Path student who has made a significant impact on the College’s community, exhibiting an overall positive attitude, and demonstrating leadership. Belsen graduated with an overall GPA of 3.86 in addition to winning several awards throughout her Bay Path career.
Lorena Cisneros ’14, of Enfield, Conn., was distinguished as the winner of the Pathfinder Award. This honor is given to a student from the One-Day-a-Week Saturday program who demonstrates leadership, compassion, perseverance, and integrity while maintaining academic excellence. Cisneros is the mother of two and works within the Latina community of northern Connecticut to ensure they have strong connections to social services. She maintained a GPA of 3.86 for her Bay Path career.
The Carpe Diem Award is given to the One-Day-a-Week Saturday students who achieve academic excellence while embodying the mission of Bay Path at each of the College’s campuses and online. The winners of this award for 2014 are: Stephanie Morgado ‘14, of Somerville, Mass., from the Burlington BPC campus; Ariel Mary Lim ’14,of Worcester, Mass., from the Central Mass. BPC campus; Micki Choi ’14, of Agawam, Mass., from the Longmeadow campus; and Mardi Lynne Kennedy ’14, of West Greenwich, Rhode Island, from the online campus.
Three student speakers delivered addresses at commencement; the orators were chosen in a campus-wide competition. Melina Andrea Isdith-Laverde ’14, from Rego Park, New York, delivered the undergraduate address. Thomas Kwapien, Jr. G’14, from Westfield, Mass. delivered the graduate student address. Ariel Lim ’14 also delivered the One-Day-a-Week Saturday program address.
Social media played an active role in this year’s commencement: A live Twitter feed with messages of encouragement was broadcast on the MassMutual Center’s Jumbotron. The hashtag #BPC14 was used to aggregate all Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter contributions. To find out what the conversations were on those platforms, check it out!