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May 21, 2013

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren told a group of more than 500 Framingham State graduates that by getting an excellent education they have built a strong and resilient foundation that will help them succeed in an uncertain world.

Thousands of students, faculty, families and friends gathered under a tent on the Framingham Town Green on Sunday, May 19, to celebrate the graduates during Framingham State’s 174th undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Warren, who served as the commencement speaker, told the students that planning and preparation are important in life, but they need to be prepared for the unexpected.

“Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected,” Warren said. “Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. And never be so faithful to your plan that when you hit a bump in the road – or when the bumps hit you – you don’t have the fortitude, grace, and resiliency to rethink and regroup.”

Framingham State President Timothy J. Flanagan told the students that they have taken a critical step on their journey to a successful career.

“Today, you can look back on the work you have done and see the evidence of great teaching, new skills learned, and new passions uncovered,” Flanagan said. “You are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Senior Class President Molly Goguen urged her fellow graduates to use their education to benefit others.

“Regardless of what degree we have, what GPA is stamped on our degree works, or even what our next step is after today, we all have a similar opportunity ahead of us,” Goguen said. “An opportunity to use the education we received for the greater good and to serve others.”

Framingham State presented its inaugural James G. Carter Award to Caitria and Morgan O’Neill during the ceremony. The award, which is named after the famed 19th century politician and education reformer, recognizes an outstanding idea developed by a young person or persons from Massachusetts that benefits communities. The O’Neill sisters are the founders and creators of, an easy-to-use software platform that can be deployed by a community to prepare for and respond to a natural disaster. They developed the software after their experience leading recovery efforts in their hometown of Monson, MA, following an EF3 tornado in 2011.

Earlier in the day, the University held its graduate commencement ceremony. Professor Emeritus Dr. John Ambacher served as the commencement speaker and urged the students to cultivate three virtues throughout their life – civic engagement, intellectual curiosity and common decency.

“You must be our role models for producing a more civil, tolerant and compassionate society,” Ambacher said. “Hold onto your beliefs, but recognize the need to understand the beliefs of others.”

State Senator Karen Spilka was presented with the Citizen Laureate Award, given annually to an individual who has consistently supported Framingham State University.

“Senator Spilka’s advocacy on behalf of the MetroWest region, and especially her leadership in advancing public transportation and strengthening public higher education in the Commonwealth, are deeply appreciated,” President Flanagan said.

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 6,400 students with 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a public university, Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.

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Framingham State University

100 State Street

PO Box 9101

Framingham, MA 01701-9101


Phone: 508-620-1220