SHU Grads Get Final Wish At Commencement

News Story: May 1, 2011
Students enter the field
just before the start of
Undergraduate Commencement.

“CALL OUR NAMES!” chanted graduates of the class of 2011 during the Sacred Heart University undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15th. It had been raining all night and most of the morning, and since the forecast showed no signs of improvement, the decision was made to grant the degrees by college. However, after some spirited chanting and Sacred Heart University’s newly appointed President John Petillo’s agreement, the graduates got their wish.

During the ceremony, 842 undergraduates received their degrees. In addition, three honorary degrees were presented during the ceremony. Frank J. Butler, who heads FADICA, which stands for Founders and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities; and Murray Martin, chief executive officer at Pitney Bowes Inc., headquartered in Stamford, received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. An honorary Bachelor of Science degree was posthumously bestowed upon SHU senior Matthew R. Dalling, a biology student who tragically died in an auto accident in October.

Despite the nonstop rain, President Petillo’s advice and hopes for the class of ’11 will have lasting significance.

“Hopefully in your time here at Sacred Heart your mind has been challenged, stimulated, and instilled with the hunger for learning and giving,” said Dr. Petillo. “Hopefully it’s been a time for each of you to have a vital place in the community of people. This has been a time for you to experience the gifts and the talents that each of you have been given.”

It was certainly a day to remember for the class of 2011, not only because of the weather, but the ability for the class to come together and support each other. “Although right now, we are all wearing the same black cap and gown, we each have had our own unique experience here, experiences which we have made our own,” said Class of ’11 President Jaclyn Bellino, of Staten Island, NY.

President Petillo presented
Amy Dion with her degree during
Graduate Commencement.

During the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, Christopher K. McLeod, president and CEO of 454 Life Sciences Corp., and Judith Persichilli, who is the president and CEO of Catholic Health East, received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees along with the 372 masters degrees given.

After receiving his honorary degree, Dr. McLeod gave a commencement address filled with wisdom from his experiences. “Today, we celebrate commencement. Many of you have earned terminal degrees. Clearly there is a sense of transition; one facing a life coming to an end,” he said. “However, I urge you not to look at it as a single achievement, but as a milestone along life’s journey of continuous growth. Because one certainty is that the world 30 years from now will be significantly different than the one it is today.”

As this year’s 1,200 graduates leave SHU to continue adding to their lists of accomplishments, Ms. Bellino left the Class of 2011 with a closing call to action. “We have succeeded in making a mark on this campus; now it is time to go and make marks on the world.”

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