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Faculty and administrators at Framingham State honored 1937 alumna Kathleen Ryan Roberts during Winter Commencement in February by presenting her with the first undergraduate degree displaying the school’s official university status. “I will never forget this,” said Roberts, who majored in elementary education at Framingham State and went on to teach for 47 years. “It is difficult for me to put into words the special place that Framingham State has in my heart.”
A total of 251 master’s degrees and 284 bachelor’s degrees were conferred during two ceremonies at the University. The winter commencement ceremony was the first in recent memory. “Because of student teaching, internships and other factors, many Framingham State students complete their degree requirements in August or December,” Framingham State President Timothy Flanagan said. “This ceremony is intended to provide a timely opportunity to recognize the great accomplishments of these students.”
Roberts encouraged the graduates to be open to change, embrace adversity and realize that life is always a work in progress.
“We all have something to learn from one another, no matter our own position or what we perceive as someone else’s station in life,” she said. “The best lessons in life are where you make the effort to find them.”Roberts told the students they should not be discouraged by the current economic climate. She said the education she received at Framingham State gave her the skills and experience needed to make a living after she graduated during the Great Depression.
“I will always be grateful to Framingham State University because it gave me a means of earning my living when there were very, very limited opportunities for women,” Roberts said.
Alan Feldman, professor emeritus and a former chair of the Framingham State English Department, gave the commencement address during the undergraduate ceremony. He told the graduates that there is great value in seeing a difficult challenge through to the end.
“You finished something because of what’s inside you,” he said. “The path through every tough and long challenge you face in the future will be lit by the light of your success here.”
Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville gave the commencement address during the graduate ceremony, encouraging the grads to stay focused, seek broad experiences and take chances.
“You’re not done as a student today,” he said. “You’re just beginning the next phase of education. That’s why they call it commencement.”

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