On a summer-like day, Curry College honored 687 graduates from the Class of 2021 in its 141st Commencement celebration. The ceremony, to which graduates were allowed to invite two guests, was live-streamed today from the Walter M. Katz field to approximately 2,300 family members, friends, alumni, faculty and staff, among other Curry community members.
The in-person ceremony was especially memorable after a year of gathering restrictions and social distance, and the program celebrated graduates with a number of awards and honors.
Presiding over the second Commencement exercise this weekend, Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr. recognized the graduates for their success in trying times. “This is a celebration of all that we have overcome, it is a celebration of all that we have achieved despite the challenges and tragedies of this time. Once again, Curry students have persisted, persevered, and succeeded.”
In his address, Class Orator Melvin Wells ’21 of Hamden, Conn., asked the audience to reflect on their time at the College as preparation for their future success. “Although the future is unknown and not promised, there is one thing that is guaranteed. The lessons, the experiences, the ups, and the downs that you had here at Curry College were worth it and provided us with the tools and knowledge to be successful at anything we apply our hearts and minds to.”
Moments of special recognition included the naming of Hailey DeCoffe of Lakeville, Mass., Gwendolyn Kalian, of Warwick, R.I., Emily Mathers of Cumberland, R.I., and Samantha Swerdlow, of Cumberland, R.I., as the traditional undergraduate valedictorians. Traditional undergraduates Jessica Emo of Haverhill, Mass., and Kelsie Rainone of Plainville, Mass., were named salutatorians of their class. Jessica Maguire of South Dennis, Mass., was recognized as the continuing education student valedictorian and Gary Walsh of Pembroke, Mass. was recognized as the continuing education student salutatorian.
Rachel Dumond of Saugus, 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.
Dumond, a biochemistry major has led on campus as a peer tutor, mentor and laboratory assistant and is a member of the Tri-Beta Honor Society. She is also a key member of the leadership board of the Pre-Health Elite Club and has recently been awarded the Academic Excellence and Leadership in Biochemistry Award and the English Award. Throughout her time at the College, she contributed to key academic research analyzing the chemical components of flavored e-cigarettes. This fall, she will attend the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.
Marking the momentous milestone in-person and on-campus was treasured by the graduates and their families, says Grace O’Neil ’21. “Today is so special to me because I get to have my parents with me as I cross the stage. I know that I couldn’t have done this without them.”
Brandon Clay ’21 agrees with the sentiment. “This ceremony symbolizes the embarking of a new journey, and the start of our careers,” he says. “It feels so amazing to be able to gather with all of my close friends and family during such a hectic year. Being able to commemorate all of the achievements that we all accomplished at Curry College feels amazing. I can truly say that not only have I made lifelong friends here, but I have been a part of one of the greatest campus communities ever.”