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Higher Honors

News Feature

News & Events

May 10, 2012

Approximately 460 Bridgewater State University students received advanced degrees Wednesday night during the institution's seventh annual Graduate Commencement Convocation.

Many, like Jackie Price, a master's of social work degree recipient, said she hoped the new credential will move her along her chosen path.

"I wanted to go further with my career, for my family and kids," said the North Attleboro resident, who has a job as a clinician at Bridgewater State Hospital.

In keynote addresses and speeches, the graduates heard much about taking that next step, but also about never forgetting those around them.

"Never underestimate the importance one life, your life, can have in the many communities where you live," said Louis Ricciardi, '81, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The Rondileau Campus Center auditorium was filled to near capacity for the two-hour ceremony. BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria welcomed the graduates and presided over the festivities, which included the presentation of two awards. The Distinguished Graduate Thesis Award was presented to Robert Wesley Matheson Jr., who earned his master's degree in English. Mr. Matheson, a 2007 graduate of BSU who is employed by his alma mater's University Advancement Division, was honored for his thesis, "Naturally Helpless:  Disability in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll .and Mr. Hyde." Dr. Kathleen Vejvoda served as thesis advisor.

The Distinguished Graduate Research Project Award was presented to Carol Jean Moran, who earned her certificate of advanced graduate study in educational leadership. Her project was, "An Examination of Instructional Strategies for Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension Used by Grades 9  12 High School Teachers in English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies." Dr. Stephen Nelson served as advisor.

In her keynote address, Carol Conway Bulman, CEO and vice chairman of Jack Conway, Realtor and a trustee of the BSU Foundation Board, told graduates to fight back the fear of the unknown.

"We cannot achieve anything in life without courage," she said.

She told of how a few years ago her father asked her to take over the real estate business, one of the largest independent agencies in New England.

"The task was monumental to me," Ms. Bulman said. "Yet I was honored and thrilled."

Providing an object lesson for the graduates, she told how she set her fear aside, took on the position and saw the company through the financial storms of the last few years.

Kara Falvey of Holbrook, who received her master's degree in social work, addressed her classmates, sharing her experiences overseas in a war-torn country.

"It was eight years ago that I found myself as a combat medic, serving our great nation in the middle of Baghdad, Iraq. And although the road which brought me to Bridgewater State University has been filled with twists and turns, I wouldn't have changed a thing," she said.

Challenges in life, whether soldiering or making the sacrifices necessary to earn an advanced degree, take courage and perseverance, she added. But the rewards are manifold.

"As exhausting and uncomfortable as this process was, it taught us about believing in our own power and believing in ourselves," she said. (Story and photos by John Winters, G '11, University Advancement)

President Dana Mohler-Faria
A family member snaps a keepsake
Jeanine Connolly of West Bridgewater
Excited grads
Keynote Carol Conway Bulman
Kara Falvey, student speaker
Louis Ricciard, '81, congratulates a graduate

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