Commencement 2004

Students at Commencement

It rained! For the first time in more than a decade. Not a warm spring drizzle, but a cold, bone-chilling downpour that was more like March than May. And it did not let up until early afternoon.

However, the indomitable PMC spirit rose the occasion, and more than 1,000 alumnae, faculty, staff, families, and friends of the graduating Class of 2004, with unfurled umbrellas gathered in the glad by the pond to witness the full pomp and circumstance of this year's Commencement.

Promptly at 11 a.m., the brass ensemble sounded out the processional, and the line of College officials, faculty, and 77 graduating seniors made its way out onto the field. I twas raining so hard the musicians had to struggle to keep the rain out of their instruments.

President Gloria Nemerowicz opened the festive ceremony, describing the occasion as a celebration of Pine Manor College's learning community of women and the completion of a task done well. For the graduating seniors, she added, "In spite of the rain we take time to honor you and your achievement and are proud of your accomplishments. We have high expectations for you and for the contributions that you will make to our common good. More than ever, our troubled world needs what you can bring - compassion for others and the ability to bring human connectedness."

President Nemerowicz was followed by honorary degree recipient Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, M.D., who delivered the invocation, and by seniors Yuki Asaka, who sang the Alma Mater, Neelanjana Sen, who gave the class farewell, and Kellie Maddigan, who sang "It's Time to Go."

Honorary doctorate degrees were then conferred on noted arts administrator, producer, and alumna Priscilla Dewey Houghton '44; social justice activist Barbara F. Lee; and co-pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Boston and pediatrician at the the South End Community Health Center, the Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, M.D.

In accepting her honorary degree, Houghton said tot eh graduates, "You are an awesome, diverse collection of the best, and you have endowed this fine inclusive college with a fabulous new look and an inclusive leadership model for women." She concluded by urging, "Hold on to your creative piece. Keep your creative talents hardwired, enhancing your profession, your career. They'll help you find your own true voice, discover what are good at, and develop a style that is unique, as you are."

Fellow honoree Barbara F. Lee told the graduates that they always needed to be conscious of the difference that they could make as individuals, as well as the collective difference that they could make as women.

"More than twenty-two million women who ave the vote didn't vote in the last presidential election," Lee pointed out. "We are the largest single group of nonvoters, and yet, paradoxically, when we hold public office, we are the most likely to vote for legislation that benefits society and propels social change."

"You can make a difference," she charged the graduates. "Envision yourselves as leaders, and go as far as you can."

Honoree White-Hammond reminded the students that many of them were first-generation college student like herself, and all of them were the embodiment of the voices, vision, dreams, and determination of generations of women in their own families.

"All of you have a responsibility to the women who have gone before you," she stressed. "Work for your dream, fight for your dream, be stubborn for your dream, an it he words of the negro spiritual, 'Don't let nobody turn you around, turn you around, turn you around. Keep on walkin', keep on talkin', until you get on the freedom trail.'"

After President Nemerowicz presented the faculty awards, student honors and awards, and the Distinguished Service Award, Dean Nia Lane Chester presented the graduating class for the formal awarding of their degrees.

At the end of the ceremony, President Nemerowicz called on the graduating seniors to jointly express their thanks to the faculty and to their parents for the support an encouragement that they gave them over the past four years.

The women graduating from Pine Manor, including those who graduated in December, received the following Bachelor's and Associate's degrees: 15 in Biology; 30 in Business Administration; 19 in Communication; 3 in English; 1 in History and Culture; 3 in Liberal Studies; 13 in Psychology; 5 in Social and Political Systems; and 9 in Visual Arts.