Elms College Graduates 398 Students at 2012 Commencement

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The college awarded 318 undergraduate degrees and 80 graduate degrees and certificates.

Elms College awarded degrees and certificates to 398 members of the class of 2012 on Saturday, May 19 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. This year’s graduating class is the largest in the college’s history and includes the first graduating class of students who completed their bachelor’s degree though the partnership between Holyoke Community College and Elms College.

The class of 2012 includes:
318 undergraduates
181 bachelor of art degrees
135 bachelor of science degrees
Two associate of art degrees
80 graduate students
Three master of arts in applied theology degrees
25 master of arts in teaching degrees
20 master of arts in education degrees
Nine master of science in nursing degrees
17 master of science in autism spectrum disorders degrees
Six certificates of advanced graduate study

Mark Gregory Hambley, veteran diplomat and retired United States ambassador to Qatar and Lebanon, received an honory degree and delivered the commencement address.

“I guess this mean I’m now one of you, and this makes me very proud,” Hambley told the graduates in reference to his honorary degree. “Always look at the glass as half-full, not half-empty. Have fun and treat life like the adventure it is. And find ways not to take yourself too seriously.”

Class of 2012 valedictorian Victoria Puff, of Hampden, Mass., addressed her fellow students with the theme of missing what will be left behind at Elms College.

“And even if we don’t want to, no matter how scared we are, we must grow with change,” Puff said. “And yes, we will miss the way things used to be. My advice to you: miss those things. But I also know, in the end, that we will all be okay. We are meant to miss things.”

Puff is a communication sciences and disorders major. She received the Monsignor Conaty Award her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. She was recently inducted into Kappa Gamma Pi and Delta Epsilon Sigma. Victoria received the Marion Kennedy Sweeney Award from the CSD division. She traveled to Jamaica both her sophomore and junior years to spend time with the residents. Victoria is a member of the Student Government Association and the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association. She plans to attend the University of Connecticut in the fall to receive a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology.

Diane Brunelle, a 1984 Elms graduate and the vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Noble Hospital, received the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Via Veritatis Award was given to Mary Jane England, M.D., visiting professor of Health Policy and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health and former President of Regis College. The Via Veritatis Award is presented annually to an outstanding Catholic woman who exemplifies Catholic womanhood and culture at their best, and who has made significant contributions to society.

Elms College President Mary Reap, IHM, Ph.D., congratulated the class, which includes full- and part-time students.

“You are the reason we come to work every day; you are the source of our pride; you are the proof that we do is worth it all,” Reap said. “You leave this college a better institution because of your many contributions in the classroom, in sports, in service to others, and in just being the fine people you are.”

Greetings were also delivered by Elms College Board of Trustees Chair Linda Mansfield, class of 1977; Maxyne Schneider, SSJ, Ph.D., class of 1965 and president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield; and Michael Bissonnette, mayor of the City of Chicopee.

Copies of the speeches are available upon request.

Elms College is a co-educational, Catholic college offering a liberal arts curriculum that gives students multiple perspectives on life. Founded in 1928 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Elms College has a tradition of educating reflective, principled, and creative learners, who are rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to civic and social obligations, and capable of adjusting to change without compromising principle.

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