Courtesy of CSJ
Peter Edens, left, and Nolan Emory, right smile in their graduation caps.
RUTLAND — College of St. Joseph was honored to grant degrees to 72 graduates at the College’s 56th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17.
CSJ President Dr. Richard Lloyd conferred degrees upon the graduates. Academic Dean Dr. David Balfour led the processional, and President Lloyd gave the benediction.
This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. Paula McGee, a dynamic author and inspirational speaker. Her message to students compared life to a game, and she encouraged the graduates to find theirs. A fitting message from a former USC basketball star.
“Remember, there is no one way to play your game, but many. Take what life gives you and create on the spot if necessary,” she said. “If you can make it to graduation, then you can also make it to your future dreams.”
McGee also urged students to use their experience as CSJ as a foundation to keep learning. She said there is never a substitute for hard work and excellence and she employed them not allow others to define them or create limitations based on their diversity.
“Fear is the litmus test that something great is about to happen,” McGee said. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the management of fear.”
Laughs and tears shared time with hard-won advice throughout the ceremony. By the end, many of the graduates realized that their game, as McGee referenced, is just beginning.
“Leaving CSJ is bittersweet. My experience allowed me to cultivate skills that I will take with me into the work force and relationships with my fellow students and professors that will last,” said graduate Amy Moore of Proctor. “As I graduate, I will not leave CSJ behind, because the experience will stay with me.”
For MBA graduate Dale Koenig, who also earned her Associate and Bachelor Degrees at CSJ, the College assisted in her game by allowing her to complete each of her degrees in an unconventional way.
“I got transferred at work, and I really didn’t want to drop out,” she said. “The college allowed me to complete my first two degrees on speakerphone in the class.”
While still living in North Carolina, she decided to pursue an MBA. Koenig reached out to Dr. Robert Goddard, who allowed her to attend class via video chat. How much the accommodations meant to her, she said, is immeasurable.
“My MBA wouldn’t have meant the same thing without this experience and the realization of how much the college cared for me as a student,” she said.
Koenig also thanked her classmates for their support. Other students were always tolerant of the situation, and if there were technological issues in the classroom, they would often offer their own computers to make sure she could be present.
“I could have went anywhere, but I wanted to be here,” she said. “Nothing else would have felt like home.”