MORRISTOWN, N.J., May 18, 2013 – The College of Saint Elizabeth Class of 2013 gathered under a white tent with family and friends on the front lawn of the campus at the 111th Commencement Exercises, Saturday, May 18, 2013. More than 450 graduates received their degrees. The College graduated 274 undergraduates from its Women's College and adult undergraduate programs and 178 graduate students, including 14 students who received their doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership.
This graduation is the 16th and last under the administration of Sister Francis Raftery, CSE president, whose term ends June 30, after 38 years of service to the College.
Sister Francis, who was met with a rousing standing ovation, inspired the assembly of some 2,000 graduates and well-wishers one last time. In her welcoming remarks, CSE President Sister Francis Raftery encouraged graduates to "go ahead with confidence and joy ... Begin with God, continue to develop your life and then, let the march of the miracles begin."
Sister Rosemary Moynihan, general superior of the Sisters of Charity and chair of the CSE board of trustees, also addressed the graduates. "Your great accomplishments give evidence to the mission of the College ... We believe in you ... Go forward and make a difference in the world."
This year's Commencement address was presented by Gwen-Marie Moolenaar, Ph.D. '62, the first black female in the U.S. to be awarded the Ph.D. in Neurophysiology.
In her remarks, she proposed three challenges to the graduates, "The first challenge is based on the observation that our lives are the sum of our choices. Life is all about choice. I challenge you to base your life choices on the solid values honed here at the College of Saint Elizabeth ... My first challenge to you, then, is to make your own choices in life based on your values, despite what others think. Even when life throws the unexpected and the hurtful at you, you must choose how to respond. And it is challenging to do so."
Her second challenge to the audience was, "To stand up. By this I mean choose to stand up for something even if you find yourself standing up all by yourself. All the major social movements began with someone who stood up and declared there has to be a better way."
Her third and final challenge for her audience was, "To continue to walk in faith even as you weather life's storms and face life's uncertainties...because ours is a providential God. And in all things, give God thanks anyway."
Dr. Moolenaar received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the College of Saint Elizabeth in 1962 and was awarded a Teaching Fellowship by Long Island University from which she received a Master of Arts Degree in Biology in 1967. She obtained a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology in 1972 from Indiana University and began her career as a faculty member at Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM) in Washington, D.C., where for 16 years she taught medical, dental, and graduate students. During her tenure at HUCM she served as Chair of the Physiology Department's Doctoral Program, the Medical Neuroscience Program, and the Teaching Committee in Physiology. Prior to retirement in 2010, she served as Head of her high school alma mater, Sts. Peter and Paul School, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Throughout her career, she was an active member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and served on the advisory boards of the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association.
In recognition of her more than 30 years of remarkable leadership and commitment to higher education, the College of Saint Elizabeth awarded Gwen-Marie Moolenaar, Ph.D., the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.
The College also awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Virginia E. McGlone, Ed.D., professor Emerita of Mathematics and Computer Science, in recognition of her esteemed work at the College and her dedication to higher education. During her 40 years of teaching at CSE, she left a legacy of scholarship and great competence.
In recognition of his leadership in health care, education and the arts, the College bestowed upon William J. Marino, the Doctor of Laws Degree, Honoris Causa. Mr. Marino is the retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey and is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and a member of the Board of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Student Speakers Address Their Peers
Shannon Tipton, of Woodbridge, VA, was the CSE Women's College student Commencement speaker. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Psychology and was awarded the Sister Elizabeth Houlihan Memorial Award. During her years at CSE, she served on the Campus Ministry and was a Student Ambassador and representative for the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Ms. Tipton was captain of both the CSE swim and cross country teams and was a member of the tennis team. She received the CSE Sportsmanship Award and was twice named Most Valuable Player for the CSE Swim Team. Ms. Tipton was recognized by the NCAA for her sportsman-like conduct and awarded the Northeastern Athletic Conference Sportsmanship Award.
In recognition of her musical experience and talent, she has received numerous awards and honors including the CSE Music Department Performance Award, Alumnae Association Leadership Award for Music, and the Earl Hartmann Music Award. Upon graduation, she will join the Salesian Lay Missionaries for a year before continuing her musical and academic pursuits.
In her remarks entitled We Are, she told her classmates, "We will inspire and find inspiration in the opportunities that we continue to participate in. We will create, we will dream, and we will seek all that may be used to serve others. We will continue to demonstrate motivation, intelligence, and confidence as we take part in this next stage in our lives. We will find strength and love in the bond we have as sisters as we continue to support and walk together towards our dreams and ambitions."
CSE student speaker, Bernadette M. Cardillo, of Newton, N.J., received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and addressed the adult undergraduates and graduate students. She is currently the Assistant Nurse Manager of Surgical Services at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, where she oversees the daily operations of five patient care units. Since beginning her career as a registered nurse in New Jersey 28 years ago, she has continuously worked in critical care. Ms. Cardillo is a nationally certified critical care registered nurse, a certified post anesthesia nurse and an advanced cardiac life support instructor.
In her speech, The Take-Away, she said to her fellow students, "What we take with us are life values that will guide us through this diverse world in which we live – values that transcend social, cultural, and ethnic boundaries – values such as love, mutual respect, and selfless service to those in need. We express these values because people, all people, hold a special place in creation. Human beings have an absolute, intrinsic value which makes them priceless. This is what we take with us from today forward – to treat everyone with dignity and respect. If we embrace this and allow it to guide our actions, we can't go wrong."
50th Doctoral Student Earns Ed.D.
Fourteen students received their doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership this Commencement, bringing the total number of students who have completed the program to 50.
Started in 2007, the Ed.D., in Educational Leadership program prepares students from the New Jersey–New York metropolitan area to lead school districts. Integrated into all course work and learning activities are the central values and beliefs necessary for school leaders to function as morally purposeful stewards for their school communities.
Commencement Capped a Week of Events
The CSE Commencement ceremony concluded a series of events including the baccalaureate mass, which took place the night before and incorporated the hooding of undergraduates and graduate students. A separate hooding ceremony took place May 14 for the doctoral graduates. The hood signifies rank and academic area of expertise.