Morristown, N.J. (May 16, 2015) – The College of Saint Elizabeth celebrated its 113th Commencement on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Family, friends, faculty, staff, students and honored guests gathered under the big tent on the lawn to recognize the achievements of the class of 2015.
The College conferred 251 undergraduate degrees to the Women's College and the Continuing Studies students, 161 degrees in the Graduate programs, and two doctoral degrees. Rochelle R. Hendricks, secretary of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey, offered her words of wisdom and received a Doctor of Laws honoris causa.
In a welcome by CSE President Helen J. Streubert, she said, "There are many special people in the audience today – our graduates. They have done incredible things while pursuing their degrees – in the classroom, in the community, among one another. They have been part of the living-learning community we call the College of Saint Elizabeth."
Sister Rosemary Moynihan, general superior of the Sisters of Charity and chair of the CSE board of trustees, also addressed the graduates. "Your significant contributions give evidence that our mission is alive in each one of you. We believe in you and we trust that you will go forth and make a difference in the world ... make life better for others."
Secretary Hendricks spoke of three "hopes" she has for the graduates as they continue on their journey. The first is to take a leap of faith and trust others as well as themselves. "To overcome adversity and confront new challenges is to be motivated by passion and compassion," she counseled. The second is to be open to change. "Make a commitment to excellence, without comparisons or contrast; set your own personal standard of excellence." The third piece of advice is "Self-respect and acceptance will free you to respect and accept others; it will open your heart and mind to be joyous in life," she said.
Student speaker Amanda Hamann of Phillipsburg, N.J., B.A. Elementary Education, spoke of dreams coming true for many from the dream of one person. Her speech looked at the dream Walt Disney had to create family-centered entertainment. Compare that with Mother Xavier who had a dream to create women-centered education. She continued by saying that commencement is the first step in the journey of making dreams come true. The title of her speech was aptly "A Dream for One is a Dream for All."
The second student speaker was Todd Talerico of Morristown, N.J., M.S. Health Care Management. The title of his address was "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." Talerico spoke about returning to college for a graduate degree as a non-traditional student with several years of professional experience behind him. He lauded the commitment to leadership that CSE has for women to be full partners in society and he noted that he enjoyed the company of women who had strong career motivation and a passion for excellence.
The CSE Commencement ceremony concluded a series of events including the baccalaureate Mass, which took place the night before Throughout the week, several major-specific honors societies inducted students and the College conferred dozens of awards to students based on their academic excellence.