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Commencement 2019

Commencement 2019

Pine Manor College’s 108th Commencement took place on Sunday, May 19th, 2019.
The graduating class of 2019 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. After thanking Pine Manor College’s community members, Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, and friends and families of the graduating class. The President then acknowledged the honorary degree recipients: Melissa James and William Gross. Noting Melissa James as one who focused on creating solutions and building a better community, the President said, “It is what Pine Manor College prepares students for, building community and finding solutions.” President O’Reilly then acknowledged William Gross as a person who exemplifies the culture of Pine Manor College, as someone who takes charge, saying,”At Pine Manor College our culture is be leaders in the community building process. As Commissioner Gross said, ‘if you want change, you have to be the change.'” 

Addressing the graduates, President O’Reilly said “thank you for having had the courage to believe in yourself, 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, led the audience in reading the College’s Alma Mater.


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

“…we pray that you will Bless each graduate and give them patience and understanding 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 the courage and the power to remain hopeful, to dream big, to fear not, and to keep moving forward in this unpredictable journey called life.”

Alumnae/i Greeting

Teakia Brown ’07

Teakia Brown ’07, reflected on her journey at Pine Manor College and beyond. She recalled: “Pine Manor’s commitment to social responsibility and inclusive leadership was the cornerstone of my educational experience. My professors were truly invested in my ability to think critically and to become a responsible citizen in the larger society that would be committed to diversity and shared leadership.”

Addressing the graduating class, Brown then said, “You may be sitting out there in your caps and gowns full of ambition, anxiety and euphoria – a cluster of emotions that only come a few times in life. I am here to tell you that:

You are ready

You are capable

And You are needed.

I would like to share a quote with you by Audre Lorde that continues to inspire and guide me in my career:

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Commencement Poem

Eileen Cleary, MFA ’19
Eileen Cleary read the poem she wrote as a gift to the 2019 Pine Manor graduates. 

(To read Eileen’s poem, Accomplishment,
click here.)

Awarding of Honorary Degrees

A Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa was awarded to Melissa James, Founder, President and CEO of The Tech Connection. Board Chair, Robert Utzschneider , escorted Melissa James, to the podium. Professor Joe Fargnoli, M.S., Assistant Professor of Business and Management, read her citation.

(To read Melissa James’ citation, click here.)

A Doctor of Laws honoris causa was awarded to William Gross, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department. Lise Leist, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, escorted Commissioner William Gross  to the podium. Kelly-Anne DeFao, J.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Political Science, read his citation.

(To read Commissioner William Gross’ citation, click here.)

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 2019 Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award was awarded to Rebecca Mitchell, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics.

The 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 Melissa Yoffe, Associate Dean of Academic 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 2019 Lindsey Professorship was awarded to Kelly-Anne DeFao, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Political Science.

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
Shelley Linso, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of English.

Senior Class Speakers

Karoline D’Brito ’19 reflected on her college career,” Now that I am about to leave, I can look back and take in all that I learned over the past four years. I couldn’t have done it without the support that Pine Manor promptly offered me from day one. I have learned so much from my professors, inside and outside the classroom, and I’ve met people that changed the way I see the world and helped broaden my vision.”

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, the recipient of the 2019 Faculty Award is Karoline D’Brito.

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 2019 Exemplary Achievement Award was presented by Dean Mello-Goldner, to Aleah Lauti.

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 2019 Pine Manor College Award was presented by Staci Weber, Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs, to Nadia Obiesie.

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 2019 President’s Cup to Hakeem Duncan.

Conferring of the Degrees 

The ceremony was concluded by the conferring of the degrees. 

President O’Reilly stated: “Members of the Class of 2019, 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.

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