For graduating grad students, 'an opportunity to magnify our blessings'. Herald, 5-17-14

June 10, 2014

For graduating grad students, 'an opportunity to magnify our blessings'

Saturday, May 17, 2014 10:46 PM EDT
NEW BRITAIN — About 350 graduate students from CCSU’s School of Graduate Studies walked into Detrick Gymnasium Thursday night to the cheers and waves of 2,000 proud parents and friends.

“I declare these graduate commencement exercises open,” said Glynis Fitzgerald, Dean of Graduate Studies.

The degrees being conferred included Doctor of Education, sixth-year certificates, and masters of Arts, Teaching and Science.

CCSU President Jack Miller offered the introduction, noting that this year is CCSU’s 165th year in higher education, making it the first and oldest public institution of higher education in Connecticut. It is also the 59th year of the graduate studies program.
In his invocation, Rabbi Andrew Hechtman, a 2014 graduate with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, told fellow graduates to be open to possibilities.

“By our commitment to higher education we took the opportunity to magnify our blessings,” said Hechtman.

Richard Balducci, a member of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, brought greetings. He wisely pointed out that while the graduates were excited to be done, “You should all be incredibly proud of your achievements.”

And students expressed their pride. “I know that, here, I did something,” said Nathan Baird, president of the Graduate Student Association. His favorite quote by Elbert Hubbard — “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” — played a large part in his remarks. Baird spoke of how he once had been a quiet and shy person, but that his family, friends and mentors had encouraged him not to hold anything back.

“Because you did something, you are someone,” said Baird.

Outside, before the ceremony began, the graduates waited in groups. These groups were made up of people that they had become close friends with over the years.

“I loved it. I met some really incredible people,” said Jacqueline Garland, who received a Master’s degree in Student Development in Higher Education. According to Garland, her degree will allow her to get a career as a college administrator and she has already had a few interviews.

The program was suggested to her by a mentor at UConn where she first received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.

“It’s kind of terrifying, but exciting. It’s bittersweet,” said Garland.