May 19, 2014
Thousands gathered on the Framingham Town Green on Sunday, May 18th, to congratulate the latest class of FSU graduates and celebrate the University’s 175th Anniversary.
The University conferred a posthumous honorary degree to Horace Mann, the original Massachusetts Secretary of Education who advocated for the founding of Framingham State as the first public normal school in America in 1839. Current Secretary of Education Matthew Malone also received an honorary degree and gave the commencement address, telling the students to be adaptable when it comes to their careers.
“Don’t rule anything out,” he said. “Ever. You majored in finance? Big deal. Become a chef, if you want. Majored in chemistry? So what? Become a piano maker if that makes you happy. You can’t fit into a box and we don’t want you to. Your degree should never limit you. It enhances you for whatever challenge you take on.”
Malone told the students they shouldn’t be discouraged if they don’t land their dream job right away, and encouraged them to work hard at whatever they do and enjoy the journey.
“No matter what, we need you to bring your own personality to it,” Malone said. “Not only your own personality, but you must also bring with you the personality of this institution. In whatever it is that you do, make it yours. Own it, love it, and immerse yourself in it 110 percent.”
The University conferred 792 undergraduate degrees and 520 graduate degrees during two ceremonies. Interim President Robert Martin told the students that while it’s impossible to know exactly what the future holds, they should feel confident as they head out into the world.
“Thanks to your hard work and perseverance, as well as the support and guidance of your family, friends, and our outstanding faculty at Framingham State, you have the skills and knowledge to excel in the field you have chosen,” Martin said.
Framingham State English Professor Elaine Beilin gave the commencement address during the graduate ceremony and encouraged members of the class to become servant leaders, who are defined by their listening skills, empathy, foresight and persuasion.
“By earning your master’s degree, you are already taking you place as leaders,” Dr. Beilin said. “According to the 2010 Census, 19.4 percent of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree; only 10.5 percent hold an advanced degree…If you are today already thinking about what to become tomorrow, I ask you to go forward with the understanding that servant leaders work everyone on scales both large and small – and I ask you to bring your listening skills, your empathy, you foresight, and your persuasion to the fulfillment of your vision.”
The University awarded Citizen Laureate Awards to two Framingham natives for their support of the University over the years – former Framingham Selectman Dennis Giombetti ’75 and longtime executive director of the Framingham Division of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Bob Merusi G’96, who retired in April.
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.