Spirits soared high despite a mid-ceremony downpour at Pine Manor College's 86th Commencement on May 17th. Cheering family, friends, alumnae, trustees, faculy, and staff - with and without umbrellas - gathered on the lawn by the Pond to witness the Class of 1998 receiving their diplomas.
Following a processional by the New Philharmonic Brass Ensemble, an invocation was given by Paul Rahmeier, Trustee Emeritus. President Gloria Nemerowicz welcomed the crowd and introduced SGA President Wendy Plourde '98.
In a heartfelt address, Plourde urged her classmates to make the most of their new experiences. She spoke of the future as being "not only about the destination, but about all those into the journey."
Following Plourde's remarks, Trustee Hillary Baily Smith '77 introduced Commence Speaker Star Jones, co-host of ABC Emmy-nominated talk show The View.
A lawyer and former prosecutor, Jones has covered the trials of our century, from the O.J. Simpson trial to the Rodney King trial. As a key influencer shaping today's courtroom reporting, Jones has served as senior correspondent and chief legal analyst of the syndicated news program Inside Edition, as a legal correspondent for NBC's Today and Nightly News, as a featured correspondent on Court TV, and host of her own syndicated program Jones & Jury.
Jones launched her entertaining address by declaring that, "Even though I up here with a lot very important people, Class of 1998, you know that I am really here for YOU!" Working the cheering crowed, Jones continued by saying that she had been sent to PMC by co-host Barbara Walters, who sent congratulations. She then extended her own congratulations to the Class by enthusiastically proclaiming, "You go, girls!"
Known for her candor and down-to-earth style, Jones shared humorous and heartfelt anecdotes about her own club up the career ladder. "Many people advised me not to rock the boat, but I decided to follow my own mother's advice and turn the boat over." She then urged the graduates to remember their diploma would always be theirs, and that no one could take that away from them.
Mirroring the College's mission of inclusive leadership, Jones encouraged the graduates to celebrate their many differences. "Echo the diversity of who are in all that you do, and don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve."
Jones closed by reminding the graduates that, although they now had the world at their feet, they must always "bring something to the table." She advised, "Be ready, capable, and able when the doors are opened to you."
Following Jones' lively address, Honorary degrees were conferred on three individuals: Star Jones, keynote speaker; Susan Blumenthal, M.S., Assistant Surgeon General for the Department of Health and Human Services; and Frances Crandall Dyke '25, posthumously. Dyke's award was accepted by Mex Frate '25, her college roommate. Later, Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Andrew B. Woolworth, retiring Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Virginia Brown White '48.
Mon, May 18, 1998
by Kimberley Pyles, Pine Manor College Bulletin