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Commencing at Last

Graduate students collect degrees, kicking off trio of ceremonies delayed by pandemic

With her family cheering on, Elizabeth Brady, ’19, G’21, walked onto the field at Gillette Stadium Thursday night and, despite the last namewasn’t there to throw a football, but to collect her master’s degree in English. 

“I’m so happy we’re all able to be here to experience this, especially for those who had to wait a year,” she said.  

Brady, along with members of both the class of 2020 and 2021took part in the Bridgewater State University graduate commencement ceremonies inside the famed stadium.  

“I don’t know how (BSU) pulled this off or who thought of it, but now, to be able to do this here, in front of everyone, it’s kind of surreal,” said Colin Josselyn, ’19, G’21who earned a master’s degree in management. 

Josselyn and his brother Matthew both played baseball while at BSU. His younger sibling will be collecting his undergraduate degree at Gillette on Saturday.  

“It’s a busy weekend for the Josselyn family,” Colin joked

Thursday night marked the first of three Bridgewater State University Commencement ceremonies held at Gillette. The stadium will also serve as host for the undergraduate class of 2021 this Saturday and on Friday night the members of the undergraduate class of 2020, who waited more than a year to celebrate, will finally get their chance.  

“It has been worth the wait to do it at Gillette. To have my name called out in the same place Tom Brady had his name called out so many times, it’s pretty special,” said Cameron Ramos, ’17, G’20.  

With family and friends sitting in the stands – some huddled under umbrellas due to a light drizzle – President Frederick W. Clark Jr spoke to the crowd.  

“Here we are, champions, sitting in a home built for champions,” Clark said, acknowledging the effort it took for the graduates to earn their degrees during the pandemic.  

Through individual and heroic action, we have arrived at this place to celebrate this moment…we have pushed back against the storm and remembered life goes on. We persisted,” Clark said. 

Similar messages were offered by guest speakers Therese Murray, former president of the Massachusetts Senate, U.S. Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, and Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, president emeritus of Bridgewater State University.  

Student Speaker Keisha Garbutt, G’20, who flew back to Massachusetts from her native Belize to attend the eventencourageher fellow graduates to use the resilience found during the pandemic and apply it in positive ways going forward.  

“We made urgent but necessary changes,” she said. “Today I challenge you to use that same spirit, along with your talents and energy, to make a positive impact on your community…right now the world needs love, more than anytime in human history. There is a world that needs you. A family that needs you. A friend that needs you.” 

 As the ceremony concluded, Sunder Singhani, G’21, spoke on behalf of the class of 2021

“We are at Gillette Stadium. My mind is blown,” he said. “This is a once in a lifetime thing. The stadium of winners. We are all winners.” 

Singhani also defined his BSU experience using a Finnish wordsisu” which he said means, “determination, persistence, guts, courage, tenacity and indomitable spirit.”

  “I believe BSU has sisu. We have sisu,” he said. 

During the ceremony the following graduates received the following academic awards.  

Joseph Gorman, G’20, Masters of Arts in English, received the 2020 Distinguished Graduate Thesis Award.  

John Scopelleti, G’20, Education Specialist in Educational Leadership, received the 2020 Distinguished Graduate Research-Project Award.  

Emily Ryan, G’21, Master of Science in Criminal Justice is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Graduate Thesis Award, and Melissa Harris, G’21, received the 2021 Distinguished Graduate Research-Project Award.  

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