More than 200 graduates celebrated with family and friends during two different Fall Commencement ceremonies on campus Sunday.
For the first time in its 20-year existence—based on the growing number of students wishing to participate--Fall Commencement consisted of two separate ceremonies, one for graduate students in the morning and a second for undergraduates in the afternoon.
Alex Thompson of Oakdale, Conn., already has a job lined up but that did not make the significance of the afternoon ceremony any less significant for him as he celebrated finishing his bachelor's in civil engineering. “I've accepted a position at General Dynamics Electric Boat as a structural engineer," Thompson explained, "and I am very much looking forward to starting my career there.” After settling in at Electric Boat, he plans on returning next fall to begin working on his master's.
Anna Romanowski of Newington, Conn., is also headed into a coveted position in January as an international tax consultant with Deloitte after earning her bachelor's in accounting and finance/insurance. She credits the support of the University and Professor Carl Smith with helping her receive this full-time job offer. “I'm very excited and can't wait to start,” Romanowski says.
President Walter Harrison addressed graduates and guests at the undergraduate ceremony and shared his concern over “the increasingly prevalent belief that what divides us as Americans and as human beings is more powerful than what unites us. And that I strongly believe is not only wrong—it is dangerous," he emphasized.
"I have been thrilled to be president of the University of Hartford, precisely because we are such a diverse place,” Harrison continued. "Watch these graduates as they cross this platform, they come in all shapes and sizes but what unites them--not only as University of Hartford graduates but as human beings--is far stronger than their differences. They represent the hope of this world."
Earlier in the day at the graduate ceremony, Interim Provost Fred Sweitzer admitted, “Many is the time I have felt buffeted by forces beyond my control. But if I remind myself that disengagement is never the answer, I always find my way back to a deep sense of purpose. So today I wish for you the wisdom to keep learning, the courage to stay engaged, and a sense of purpose that will sustain you.”
"It's so exciting to be graduating with my MBA,” said Brenda Lisitano of Meriden, Conn. “My mom who graduated from the same program almost 25 years has been such an inspiration."
George Darden of Bloomfield,Conn., another MBA graduate, noted, “I'm so lucky to fulfill a dream by earning my degree. I think education and networking are the keys to success. Be prepared for challenges and never give up.”
Students finish their degree requirements at different times during the year, and some who complete their studies in September or January, including international students, find it very difficult to return to campus months later for Commencement in May. Seeking to provide these students with a formal ceremony that celebrates their hard work and academic accomplishments, the University introduced the Fall Commencement ceremony in 1996. It is for both September degree recipients and those who are scheduled to receive degrees in January.
Click on the below image for photos from Sunday's ceremonies.