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Monica Distefano '14
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Major: Elementary Education
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- Curry College Celebrates Commencement 2014
Curry College Celebrates Commencement 2014
May 18, 2014
Curry College celebrated its Commencement on Sunday, May 18, 2014 in Milton, Massachusetts, at the D. Forbes Will Athletic Complex.
Karen Kaplan, Chairman and CEO of advertising agency Hill Holliday, served as Commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree.
The College honored Deborah C. Jackson, President of Cambridge College, with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
- Video: Curry College Commencement 2014 (Full Ceremony)
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In his introduction from the podium, Curry College President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr., praised Kaplan for a remarkable career that saw her rise from a receptionist to CEO at Hill Holliday, now one of the country's largest advertising agencies.
"Your story should serve as an inspiration to our graduates, as it is a testament to the ways in which one's ability, dedication, and perseverance will be rewarded over time," said President Quigley. "Your story also illustrates the important lesson that the path we follow may not always be the path we had envisioned or predicted. You show our graduates that they do have the power and ability to create success on their own terms."
In her address to graduates, Kaplan shared lessons from her own journey and urged the Class of 2014 to seek success while still staying true to who they are.
Kaplan offered this advice in the form of nine lessons, inspired by her own career. Her first lesson: put down that phone or tablet occasionally and really devote time to being creative and original.
"We live in a world where there is a premium placed on the creation of original ideas. And it's my experience that the act of generating original thought is virtually impossible while you're busy transacting with your head down," Kaplan told graduates. "So just make sure you pull up once in a while and pay attention to what's going on around you that can inspire you and fuel your creativity, because the ability to create something original out of absolutely nothing will serve you well in whatever career you choose."
Kaplan impressed upon students the importance of confidence-equating it to fearlessness-urging students to embrace what makes them different, and to use that to their advantage. Kaplan also told graduates that one of the keys to success is finding the right environment that will allow you to succeed.
"Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated. Not every environment is right for every person. I tell people not to be afraid to make a change if they feel their unique talents and contributions aren't being appreciated or acknowledged. The right environment can make a world of difference," Kaplan said.
Kaplan stressed that one's mindset is a critical factor in determining future success-telling students that they need to believe in themselves and, perhaps just as importantly, believe in and inspire others.
"Personally, I have found that most people have no idea what they're capable of, and a little bit of love and encouragement goes a long way," Kaplan said. "So never underestimate the power you have to influence others, and remember that your candle loses nothing when it lights another."
The value of service was embodied in the day's other Honorary Degree recipient, Deborah C. Jackson, President of Cambridge College. President Quigley praised Jackson as a leader in both the not for profit and for profit arenas, and as someone who has made education, health care, and the advancement of women top priorities.
"Your good works and leadership have affected change at nearly every level of our community," said President Quigley. "You embody the ideals of citizenship and service, and your successes should serve as an inspiration to our graduates, emboldening them to pursue their passions while remaining mindful of the ways in which they too can serve others."
Three student speakers represented the Class of 2014, each reflecting on their own experiences at Curry College, and offering advice to their fellow graduates.
In her speech, traditional undergraduate orator Gaby Dube of Manchester, Conn. compared her time at Curry-and that of her classmates-to a sports career; from receiving acceptance letters on "draft day" to their "all-star" four years at the College. Dube urged her fellow graduates to be bold and pursue success as they begin the next phase of their careers-life after graduation.
"We made a choice to take initiative and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. You are the future nurses, biologists, radio broadcasters, actors, dancers, and business consultants; you're soon to be teachers and psychologists and rising entrepreneurs; you're the next software developers for new iPhone apps, public relations specialists, and our new police force. Whatever you decided to major in, hold on to that passion."
Continuing Education orator Alexia Vaun Hefflyunn of Plymouth, Mass. continued the sports analogy, saying that receiving her degree does not represent the finish line for her-rather it is just another milestone in the relay of life.
"My experience at Curry helped me answer the question, 'what if', and changed it to the question 'what's next?" said Vaun Hefflyunn. "I am not sure what I am to become. But I do know that Curry College has helped provide me with the tools, the fortitude, and the desire to discover what is possible."
Graduate studies orator Carld Auguste of Dedham, Mass. spoke of how he draws inspiration from his family-especially his parents and older brother. Auguste said that he now considers Curry to be another part of his family.
"During the past two years of study, I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people and forging new friendships. Curry's faculty members have become an extension of my supportive family. In all stages of life, each of us will encounter challenges. Whenever, you are in need of assistance, remember-you always have a great supportive network here at Curry College."
Nicholas Colicchio of Groton, Mass. was named valedictorian and Elizabeth Baldwin of Milton, Mass. and Nicholas Tannetta of Dedham, Mass. were named salutatorians of the traditional undergraduate class.
In the Division of Continuing and Graduate Studies, Gina Lewis of Middleboro, Mass. was named valedictorian and Maryanne Basler of Kingston, Mass. was named salutatorian.
Elton Silva of South Dartmouth, Mass. received the New Era Award. Each year, the New Era award is presented to a graduating senior who, by virtue of his or her academic excellence, participation in curricular and co-curricular activities, leadership, accomplishments, and the potential for future achievement is determined to have contributed most to the enrichment of the Class and the College at large.
Curry College conferred a total of 809 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Members of the graduating class come from 5 countries and 18 states. Of the 706 undergraduate degree recipients, 382 are graduates of the traditional day program, and 324 are graduates of our Continuing Education Program. 412 undergraduates received Bachelor of Arts degrees, and 294 received Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Health degrees. Of the Master's degree graduates, 19 received a Master in Education, 32 received a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, 47 received a Master of Business Administration, and 5 received a Master of Science in Nursing.