Daria Millerick, ’14, G’18, knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was young. That’s because her preschool teacher, Andrea Sullivan, treated the Winthrop resident as she battled a speech impediment.
“My preschool teacher was amazing,” Ms. Millerick said. “She was the only person who didn’t make me feel different.”
Ms. Millerick, who graduated from Bridgewater State University Thursday with a master’s in elementary education and works at Gorman Fort Banks Elementary School in her hometown, hopes to similarly touch the lives of her students.
She was among about 475 graduates who earned their master’s degrees and certificates of advanced graduate study during Thursday’s commencement under the tent on the Boyden Quadrangle. See a complete list of those who earned graduate degrees.
The graduates heard from a number of speakers, including President Frederick W. Clark Jr., ’83, who urged them to vote and become involved in their communities in a way that is respectful of all.
“Just as we have been committed to your success, I ask you to become good citizens and take responsibility for the success of this nation… Go forth and be the good citizens that we so urgently need,” he said.
William “Mo” Cowan, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts and current vice president of litigation and legal policy at General Electric Company, drew from his personal experience in delivering the commencement address.
Sen. Cowan recalled when then-Gov. Deval Patrick called him in 2009 and asked him to join his administration. He was a successful lawyer at the time and knew entering public service would result in a pay cut. But, he was also involved in educational and other community activities and did not feel he was doing “enough good.” He had gained valuable perspective from his community pursuits and decided to join the administration.
Graduates, he said, have knowledge but need perspective.
“You need to go out and earn perspective,” he said. “You must live and engage with the world – the whole world around you, to gain the necessary perspective.”
Sen. Cowan received an honorary doctorate of public service, while New Bedford Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin received the Distinguished Service Award.
Sinyong Choi, G’18, and Craig DeMelo, ’04, G’18, earned Distinguished Graduate Thesis awards while Erin Wiggin, ’05, G’10, G’18, received the Distinguished Graduate Research-Project Award.
Student speaker Christopher Koutros, G’18, a chemistry teacher at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, urged graduates to look to those around them and follow their examples of service to others.
Mr. Koutros, who earned a master of education degree in instructional technology, also worked his area of study into his speech.
“I challenge you to consider how you use technology,” he said. “Never let technology be a barrier to seeing the person behind it.”
As graduates gathered in Tillinghast Hall before the ceremony, Maher Senatus, G’18, reflected on his journey to earn a master’s of social work while also working fulltime. Mr. Senatus, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 2007 and works in human resources for Eliot Community Human Services, is following in the footsteps of his father, a pastor, and mother, a social worker, who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
“It’s very exciting,” he said of graduating. “It has been very tough, but I’ve had a good support system.” (Story by Brian Benson, University News)