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Commencement 2018

Commencement 2018

Pine Manor College’s 107th Commencement took place on Sunday, May 20th, 2018.
Before a cheering crowd, the graduating class of 2018 marched into Ellsworth Theatre led by the Student Marshals, Susan Bear, Ph.D., and Lisa Rodrigues, M.Ed.

William Stargard, Ph.D., College Marshal, opened the ceremony and invited President Thomas M. O’Reilly, M.B.A., to give welcoming remarks. The president recognized the students’ determination and 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.”

Following the president’s remarks, the Dean of the College, Diane Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., was called to preside over the Commencement ceremonies.


Alma Mater

The Dean of the College, Diane Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., introduced the Alma Mater singer, Siera Robinson ’18, who beautifully sang the Alma Mater. 

After singing Alma Mater, Siera sang a rendition of “End of the Road,” inviting the graduates to join her.



An inspirational Invocation was given by Janine Dailey, M.A., M.B.A., M.Div., Vice President of Advancement and Alumnae/i Relations

“Creator of the universe, through your love and grace, we pray that you will:
Bless each graduate and give them patience as they encounter new experiences and opportunities in life.
Bless them with a spirit of service and a desire to give back to their communities.
Bless them with courage and power to remain hopeful, to dream big and to fear not, as they move through this journey of life.”


Alumni Greeting and Poem Reading

Two Pine Manor College Alumni, Samantha Jones ’15, and Quintin Collins, MFA ’18, addressed the soon-to-be alumni.

Samantha Jones ’15

Samantha Jones ’15, addressed the graduates who were about to join her as PMC Alumni, and said, “You all should be very proud of the journey you have endured, but today I am here to tell you that your journey has only just begun. As I stand here in front of you all today, I stand as a proud alumna of Pine Manor College and I am pleased to welcome you all as official PMC alumni.
Pine Manor College has played a major role in my life and my career as a Springfield Police Officer. It was here, that I learned how to become a leader, a listener, and a motivator. (…) With the help of a lot of very important people here at Pine Manor, I was able to achieve my dream, but as I said before I too have only just begun my journey.
(…) I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be: brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”


Quintin Collins, MFA ’18
Mr. Collins read the poem he wrote as a gift to the 2018 Pine Manor Graduates. (To read Quintin’s poem, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, click here.)


Awarding of Honorary Degrees

A Doctor of Letters honoris causa was awarded to Renée Watson, author, activist, and educator. Peggie Sweeney Krippendorf ‘96, Board Secretary, escorted Renée Watson, to the podium. Professor Hannah Baker-Siroty, Assistant Professor of English, read her citation.

(To read Renée Watson’s citation, click here.)

In her remarks, Renée Watson encouraged the graduates by stating: ” I want you to dream wild, dangerous, impossible dreams and then seek out people and spaces who will help you nurture those dreams.”


A Doctor of Laws honoris causa was awarded to the honorable Michael S. Dukakis, Former Massachusetts Governor and presidential nominee. Robert Utzschneider, Chair of the Board of Trustees, escorted Governor Michael S. Dukakis to the podium. William Vogele, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, read his citation.

(To read Governor Michael S. Dukakis’ citation, click here.)

The Governor addressed the graduates, and in his remarks he encouraged students to become active and engaged citizens on the local, national, or international level.



Marcelina Nidaisy ’18, addressing current Pine Manor College students, delivered a motivational speech and offered words of advice and encouragement. She said: “. . . you will succeed and achieve your dreams by using passion, hard work, consistence, and trust.”


Recognition of Faculty and Staff

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.” 


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 learning and teaching. The award is based on student nominations and votes. The 2018 Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award was awarded to Kelly DeFao, J.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Political Science.


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

Selected by student nominations and votes, the Pam 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. This award was presented to Lisa Rodrigues, M.Ed., Associate Dean of Student Affairs.


The Lindsey Professorship is awarded annually to an untenured faculty member to recognize outstanding academic performance and to encourage scholarly promise. It is the gift of John and the late Sara Houston Lindsey, Class of 1943. The professorship allows a one-semester leave from teaching and academic duties. The 2018 Lindsey Professorship was awarded to Deborah Kronenberg, M.A., Assistant Professor of Theatre.


The Wean Professorship is awarded annually to a tenured faculty member to recognize outstanding contributions to the College and to support scholarly research. It is the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Wean (Adelaide McCracken ’44). It allows a one-semester leave from teaching and academic duties. The 2018 Wean Professorship  was awarded to William Stargard, Ph.D., Professor of Art History.


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 faculty member, Sarah Woolf, MLS, Library Director.


Two members of the faculty will retire from the College after this semester. Sarah Woolf, MLS, Library Director, and William Vogele, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science. Dean Mello-Goldner commended them for their lasting contributions to the College and to the many students over their long careers.


As a special tribute was made to Elizabeth B. Gardner, Ph.D. Professor Emerita of Biology, for her 50 years of service to Pine Manor College. President O’Reilly presented Dr. Gardner a special certificate of recognition. 

Board of Trustees member, Dorosella Kaluma ’11, a former Biology student of Dr. Gardner, presented her with flowers on behalf of the generations of students who benefited from Dr. Gardner’s wisdom and dedication.


Senior Class Speakers

Brianna Gonsalves ’18 and Jonathan Higgenbotham ’18 shared the podium in delivering a speech that reflected on their educational journey at Pine Manor College. In their speech Gonsalves and Higgenbotham described the challenges and triumphs throughout their College careers. They shared moments of self-doubt and self-discovery, and their sense of empowerment that they enjoyed. They gave credit to the many professors and staff members who helped them along the way. 


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. Presented by Dean Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., the recipient of the 2018 Faculty Award is Marcelina Nidaisy.


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 2018 Exemplary Achievement Award was presented by Dean Mello-Goldner, Ph.D., to Liza Ortiz.


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 2018 Pine Manor College Award was presented by Staci Weber, Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs, to Siera Robinson.


The President’s Cup 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 2018 President’s Cup to Jonathan Higgenbotham.


Conferring of the Degrees 

The ceremony was concluded by the conferring of the degrees. 

President O’Reilly stated: “Members of the Class of 2018, 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  2018!