On Sunday, May 15, 62 students crossed the stage at the College of St. Joseph’s 57th commencement ceremony.
CSJ President Dr. Richard Lloyd conferred degrees upon the graduates. Academic Dean Dr. Jonas Prida led the processional.
Rutland City Chief of Police Brian Kilcullen addressed students, their families, and faculty and staff in attendance, speaking of the importance of dreams, of giving back to the community, and the value of hard work.
Kilcullen spoke of his grandfather, who as a young man immigrated to the United States from Ireland, of growing up in Schenectady, N.Y., and of his ambition to be a spy during the Cold War era. The story of his grandparents is one that some of the graduates may relate to, he said.
“I suspect some of you have had to make sacrifices to come to College of St. Joseph and were motivated by some of the things I’ve already mentioned. In some cases, you’ve come alone to a place far from home, a place you had never been, leaving your families, and perhaps leaving neighborhoods you had never left before,” said Kilcullen. “All this to fulfill your dreams and to be able to provide yourself and your families with the opportunity to experience things you’ve not been able to experience.”
He spoke of a night that changed his outlook on life. Six years into his police career, Kilcullen was working security detail for the Schenectady School District Athletic Hall of Fame at the induction of former local basketball players Ed Catino and Pat Riley. Kilcullen grew up admiring Riley’s work, but it was Catino’s speech from that evening in 2000 that has stuck with him. Those were the words he shared with CSJ’s graduating class, words that had inspired him to seek promotional opportunities and to consider leading the Rutland Police Department last fall.
“Work hard. Do the right thing. Everything else will fall into place,” said Kilcullen, remembering Catino’s speech.
He encouraged graduates to do the same.
“Those are the words I try to live by. Those words are what will allow you to fulfill your dreams. They have allowed me to fulfill mine,” he said. “You will experience failure along the way, but those words will remind you that there is hope, and that you will achieve whatever you hope to.”