Nichols College News

Class of 2013 Celebrates Nichols Commencement

With high fives, hugs, and repeated cheers for each other, the students in the Nichols Class of ’13 celebrated at the College’s commencement ceremony on Saturday morning, May 11th.

A total of 413—307 undergraduates and 106 graduate students—received newly-minted degrees.

First-term Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Worcester-area philanthropist Mary DeFeudis also were recognized with honorary doctorates in Public Administration and Humane Letters respectively.

With the graduates in black gowns and mortar-board hats filling the front rows, and family and friends overflowing the rest of the sprawling tent set up in Copper Quad, Nichols President Susan West Engelkemeyer declared. “We know you are leaving us at your best right now, but the best is yet to come.”

Engelkemeyer’s send off followed the words of Connecticut Governor Malloy, the featured commencement speaker, who advised the graduating students to embrace life after Nichols.

“It is now time for you to shape the world around you,” Malloy said. “The future is nothing to fear, but it must be met with a sense of urgency.”

Malloy also counseled that changing times require open minds and considerable flexibility. “There will be changes in government, in business that will affect our lives in ways we could never have imagined,” he said. “Accept a new idea even if it confounds what you know about the subject previously.”

Two Nichols graduates—class valedictorian Stephen Mack and senior president Stefany Mendez—offered reflections on their four years at Nichols.

“Our time at Nichols was about celebrating and sharing our true self with others without the confines of intolerance,” Mack observed. “To be quirky, different, or push the boundaries of the status quo was genuinely acceptable as well as appreciated.”

“True and pure life lessons, born from real life experiences, is what we gained from our interaction with the faculty at Nichols,” Mendez added. “They have prepared us well for the world of work, but more importantly for a way to live our lives.”

“I’m done, and I get to be a real adult,” quipped graduating senior Fae Risio.

To classmate Eric Lowell, the occasion was bittersweet. “It’s a sign of a new beginning,” he reflected. “But I’m really going to miss this place a lot.”

Besides receiving their degrees, more than two dozen of the graduates were honored for achievement in their academic programs or for distinction in their Nichols careers.

The latter category of awards recognized Keith Turbesi for academic excellence in the Nichols Graduate program; Crystal Dennison for best representing the ideals of the College; Stefany Mendez for character and citizenship; Kristina Lindgren for best overall achievement; Stephanie Lee for industry and consistent application; Thomas Haggerty for loyalty, integrity, and cooperation; Kyle Butler for most significant improvement academically; Megan Woodruff for dedication, service, and commitment to perfection; and Gianna Raffa for service to Nichols College.