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Commencement 2017

Commencement 2017


Pine Manor College’s 106th Commencement took place on a rainy yet joyful day, Sunday, May 14th, 2017.
Before a cheering crowd, the graduating class of 2017 marched into Ellsworth Theatre led by the Student Marshals, Susan Bear, Ph.D., and Stephen Donovan, M.Ed.

William Stargard, Ph.D., College Marshal and Professor of Art History opened the ceremony and invited President Thomas M. O’Reilly, M.B.A., to give welcoming remarks. In the spirit of Pine Manor College, the president addressed the guests by saying “Welcome” in many of the languages represented by our students. He continued by quoting the two honorary degree recipients – Katrina Shaw, M.S.W., and Tommy Chang, Ed.D. –  who embrace the important role that families and communities play in student success. Addressing the graduates, President O’Reilly said “thank you for having had the courage to come to college, the commitment and the grit to get through college, and the vision and aspiration to believe in your future after college.”


Alma Mater

The Dean of the College, Diane Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., introduced the Alma Mater singer, Anielly Zeferino ’16, who beautifully sang the Alma Mater. 



An inspirational Invocation was given by Meyer Chambers, Boston College Campus Minister for Liturgical Arts: 

“For this, we are grateful. We are grateful to our teachers and administrators, our mentors and peers, parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family.(…) And so we pray for God’s blessing upon this gathering of the 106th Commencement exercises of Pine Manor College. We pray for the graduates and their families. We pray for the faculty, staff and administrators. We pray for future graduates and the newly admitted class of 2021. Finally, we pray for all of us gathered here, that we may celebrate the accomplishments of Pine Manor College’s newest alumni and pray for their future success.”


Alumnae Greeting and Poem Reading

Two Pine Manor Alumnae, Karm Augustin ’13 and Maria Luisa Arroyo, MFA ’15, addressed the soon-to-be alumni.

Karm Augustin ’13, Founder and Director of KS Dance Studio, greeted the graduates and encouraged them to explore all that they could be and not be limited by pre-determined societal definitions of success. “My entire life people told me that I couldn’t be everything that I wanted to be, society wanted me to fit in a box, but if you know me, you know that no box could contain me. The faculty and staff at PMC recognized early on what made me unique. They were my teachers, mentors and cheerleaders and they supported me in all my interests. Karm then concluded, “What I want you to get from my story is that you can be whatever you want to be, whoever you want to become, and not let society put you in a box. You are your own master so you decide which direction you want your life to go.”


Maria Luisa Arroyo, MFA ’15, Poet Laureate Emerita
Ms. Arroyo read the poem she wrote as a gift to this class of Pine Manor graduates. (To read Maria Luisa Arroyo’s poem, Your Pine Manor College Journey.


Awarding of Honorary Degrees

An honorary degree was awarded to Dr. Tommy Chang, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. Rob Utzschneider, Chair of the Board of Trustees, escorted Dr. Chang to the podium.

(To read Dr. Tommy Chang’s citation presented by President O’Reilly, click here.)


An honorary degree was awarded to Katrina Shaw, CEO of Freedom House. Lise Leist ’73, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, escorted Ms. Shaw to the podium.

(To read Katrina Shaw’s citation, presented by President O’Reilly, click here.)



Elizabeth Anderson ’17 delivered a motivational speech addressed to current Pine Manor students. Offering words of advice and encouragement, she said: “Graduation day is the day that every college student dreams of. After four years of battling those endless word counts, late night dinners, and last minute cram sessions, I can finally say that we have made it. To the freshman, sophomores, and juniors, this will be you sooner than you think. One day you will wake up and you will be standing here just like we are. It is a really exciting feeling, but also a little scary. So make your memories while you can. Get your assignments done and turn them in on time. Put in the effort now and you will see the results.”


Recognition of Faculty

Dean Mello-Goldner recognized the faculty and staff who supported the graduating class: “We are especially fortunate to have an extremely talented, dedicated and supportive faculty and staff. (…) I would now like to recognize two members of the faculty who are retiring from the College after this semester. Stephen Becker, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Business and Management, and Melinda Ponder, Ph.D., Professor of English.


Faculty members were recognized for their continuing commitment to all Pine Manor College students with the following faculty awards:

The Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award recognizes excellence in teaching and calls attention to the importance our College places on the learning-teaching interface. The award is given as the result of student nominations and votes. The 2017 Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award was awarded to Hannah Baker-Siroty, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of English: Writing and Literature.


The Lindsey Professorship is awarded annually to an untenured faculty member to recognize outstanding performance and to encourage scholarly promise. It is the gift of John and the late Sara Houstoun Lindsey, Class of 1943. The professorship allows a one-semester leave from teaching and academic duties. The 2017 Lindsey Professorship was awarded to Karen Hussar, Ed.D, Assistant Professor of Psychology.


The Rosario Tosiello Award for Integrity in Scholarship was established in 2003 in memory of Professor Bob Tosiello and recognizes a member of the full-time faculty whose professional work demonstrates the principles and social responsibility characterized by the research and writing of Professor Tosiello. This year the award was presented to one of our retiring faculty members, and as approved by the Board of Trustees yesterday, our most recent Faculty Emerita – Faculty Emerita Melinda Ponder, Ph.D.


Pam Palmer Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Support of Student Success

A new award announced at this year’s Achievement Day was given in memory of the late Pam Palmer. Selected by student nominations and votes, the Palmer Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Support of Student Success honors a faculty or staff member who students feel provides support across all areas of their lives, and helps them reach their full potential. The first recipient of this award is Professor of Psychology, Michele Ramirez, Ph.D.


Senior Class Speaker

Yaye Cherif ’17 delivered a powerful speech that reflected on her educational journey. “If there is one thing, and one thing only that I hope that you will take away from my speech today,” Yaye said, “I want it to be this: do your very best in everything you do, but somewhere in your plans, even in the tiniest place, make room for failure. You see, making room for failure in your plans does not mean that you put mediocre effort into pursuing your goals. It means that you have prepared yourself for the possibility of an undesirable outcome, and nevertheless chose to give your opportunity all that you’ve got.”

Yaye Cherif concluded with these words to her classmates: “Don’t be afraid. Try something new, and allow yourself to grow. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, and believe in yourself. And do your very best at everything that you do because although it might not be recognized at the time, a job well done will ultimately be noticed!”


Student Awards

The Pine Manor College Faculty Award is given to a full-time student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with the highest grade point average upon completion of her or his academic work at Pine Manor College. This year we had a tie – two students who both graduated with a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA. Presented by Dean Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., the recipients of the 2017 Faculty Award were Elizabeth Anderson and Leset Sales.


The Exemplary Achievement Award was established in memory of Jane French McCall Dill, a member of the Class of 1939 and a former Trustee of the College. It is awarded to a student who combines outstanding values and leadership with excellence in academic achievement. The 2017 Exemplary Achievement Award was presented by Dean Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., to Oumou Cherif.


The Pine Manor College Award is given to a graduating senior who has, in the opinion of the faculty and staff, made outstanding contributions to the College and to her or his peers. The 2017 Pine Manor College Award was presented by Stephen Donovan, Associate Dean of Student Services, to Elizabeth Anderson.


The President’s Cup is awarded to a graduate who has furthered our understanding of leadership and social responsibility through her or his personal and community accomplishments. President O’Reilly presented the 2017 President’s Cup to Ashley Piermarini.


Conferring of the Degrees 

The ceremony was concluded by the conferring of the degrees. 

President O’Reilly stated: “Members of the Class of 2017, having completed all requirements for these degrees, on the recommendation of the faculty and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as vested in the Board of Trustees and delegated to me, I confer on you the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Associate of Arts degree, and the Associate of Science degree, in recognition whereof we now award you these diplomas.”

The diplomas were presented to the graduates by President O’Reilly with the assistance of the Registrar, Jeffrey Mei, and College Marshal, William Stargard, Ph.D.

Congratulations Class of  2017!

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