Thousands Gather to Witness Framingham State's Spring Commencement

Thousands Gather to Witness Framingham State's Spring Commencement

May 17, 2015

Thousands packed onto the Framingham Village Green on Sunday, May 17th to witness members of the largest graduating class in Framingham State history receive diplomas.

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Heather Abbott gave the undergraduate commencement address, describing her experience since losing a leg as a result of injuries sustained in the terrorist attack. She told the graduates that when faced with adversity, it’s important to accept what you can’t change and rise above it. Abbott said the support she has received from people around the country since she was injured motivated her to focus on helping others. She has become a certified peer counselor and launched the Heather Abbott Foundation to raise money to provide prosthetic devices to other people who have lost limbs.

“Do what you can for others,” said Abbott, who received an honorary degree in Humane Letters from FSU. “As college graduates, you have an advantage. Be a catalyst for good.”

The event marked the first spring commencement ceremony for FSU President F. Javier Cevallos, who was officially inaugurated earlier in May.

“I feel very fortunate to have gotten the chance to get to know many of you during the past nine months and I want to thank you for helping make my first academic year at Framingham State so special,” President Cevallos told the graduates. “I have often found myself in awe of your creativity, talent and insightfulness. It’s been a pleasure to watch you excel in the classroom, on the stage, and on the athletic fields.”

The University conferred four Distinguished Faculty Awards during the ceremony to World Languages Professor Mary-Ann Stadtler-Chester (Teaching); Chemistry and Food Science Professor Emmanouil Apostolidis (Scholarship); English Professor Carolyn Maibor (Professional Service); and Sociology Professor Ira Silver (Advising/Mentoring). Psychology major Stephanie Billingsley was honored as the valedictorian of the class of 2015.

Earlier in the day, the University held its graduate ceremony. Richard Wightman, a member of Framingham State’s Class of 1974 and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, gave the graduate commencement Address. He told the graduates that there are four traits that will help them succeed in life - Resiliency, Adaptability, Motivation, and Sincerity – or RAMS.

“You need to have the ability to navigate change,” said Wightman, who also was honored with an honorary degree in humane Letters. “You will see more change in your career and personal life than you could ever imagine today.”

The University presented its Citizen Laureate Award to State Rep. Carolyn Dykema during the graduate ceremony for her support of student veterans and higher education at the State House.

“This is a great honor,” said Dykema. “Framingham State is truly one of our treasures, not just in MetroWest, but in the entire Commonwealth.”

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.