Framingham State Celebrates Commencement
More than 950 highly skilled graduates are ready to make their mark on the world following an inspiring commencement ceremony on the Framingham Town Green on May 22nd.
“You have all taken a critical step on your journey to a successful career,” FSU President F. Javier Cevallos told the graduates. “Completing a four-year degree is no easy task, but has become essential to landing a good job in the Commonwealth’s high-tech economy.”
Chris Herren, founder of the Herren Project and a former Boston Celtics player from Fall River who lost his career to drug addiction, served as the undergraduate commencement speaker. He told the students that success is fleeting and requires a continued commitment to being a better person.
“Challenge yourself daily to be better than the day before,” said Herren, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony.
Herren said his addiction to drugs and alcohol became more powerful than his dream to play in the NBA. It took him 14 years before he could overcome his addiction and become the man his is today.
“Never give up on your dreams,” Herren said. “I challenge you to look within and reflect on the graduate you have become and what it will take to be the post-graduate you want to be.”
Following his speech, Senior Class President Caitlin Murray presented Herren with a check for $2,000 for the Herren Project on behalf of the Class of 2016.
Later in the ceremony, the University honored alum Kevin Gosnell ‘91 with the President’s Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the President’s Office. Gosnell was diagnosed with ALS last May, and since that time has formed two groups to help in the fight against the disease. ALS Knights is a fundraising group that raised more than $650,000 during its first 90 days. ALS One is an organization that brings together the previously fractured group of Massachusetts researchers who are working on finding a treatment for ALS.
“The amount Kevin Gosnell has accomplished in the fight against ASL over the past year is truly inspirational,” President Cevallos said.
The graduate commencement ceremony was held earlier in the morning. Michael Powers ’87, one of the founding YouTube team members and a senior vice president at CBS games, gave the graduate commencement address, telling the students that there are often many bumps along the road to success. He said when he began his career in Silicon Valley, he lost all his savings to his own unsuccessful start-ups while also passing up on opportunities to join new start-ups that would go on to become Netscape and E-Bay.
“Most people fail many times before stumbling into a winning company,” Powers said. “By earning a graduate degree, you have shown that you are willing to take a risk to gain a better future.”
Powers received an honorary doctor of science degree during the ceremony. The University presented its Citizen Laureate Award to State Representative Chris Walsh for his continued support of FSU and public higher education.
Bailey McLernon Honored at 29 Who Shine
Framingham State senior Bailey McLernon was honored by Governor Charlie Baker and other legislators during the annual 29 Who Shine Ceremony on May 9th at the Massachusetts State House.
"I congratulate Bailey and all 29 of the 2016 award recipients and thank them for their substantial contributions to their campuses and local communities," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Each of the 29 Who Shine honorees represent our future citizenry and workforce and have already made a positive impact on the Commonwealth.”
McLernon will graduate from Framingham State on May 22nd with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in math. In the fall, she will begin working toward a doctoral degree in organic chemistry at Boston University. Her goal is to become a college professor at a local college or university that has a strong focus on undergraduate students.
“Bailey is truly deserving of this recognition,” says Framingham State President Javier Cevallos. “Not only is she a terrific student, she is civically engaged and has demonstrated a commitment to helping others.”
This summer, Bailey will make her third trip to the Dominican Republic, where she spends a week handing out food and other sorely needed items in the local villages. Locally, Baily has volunteered her time at MetroFest, an event for the community put on by the MetroWest Visitor’s Bureau. Bailey is a supplemental instructor at FSU, helping other students navigate their coursework in Chemistry.
Professor Shelli Waetzig is McLernon’s faculty mentor at Framingham State and was also honored at the ceremony.
“Dr. Waetzig is the reason I want to become a professor,” says McLernon. “I have learned so much from her. She really cares about her students and wants them to do well. I have certainly been a beneficiary of that care.”
The 29 Who Shine ceremony launched in 2011 to recognize an outstanding students from each of the state’s 29 public colleges and universities.
“Bailey is a shining example of a student who has made good on the taxpayer’s investment in her education,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “The outstanding students on this year’s list of 29 Who Shine honorees have come from many countries, overcome many obstacles. I am so proud of what they have achieved and look forward to seeing how they continue to put their talents to work on behalf of us all.”
Social Media Students Assist Non-Profit Agency with Marketing
Rather than a final exam or paper, students in Suzanne McDonald’s Writing for Online and Social Media course presented a custom, actionable social media plan to a Connecticut nonprofit this semester.
The English Department course not only allows students to explore myriad social media channels and demystify how Google ranks webpages, but also lets them apply these skills at a local nonprofit agency, according to McDonald.
Students Carly Dow, Brianna Ouellette, Corrinne Cordeiro, and Meghan Babb selected Opportunity Works Connecticut (OWC), which enhances the lives of people with disabilities through meaningful and gainful employment services, from nearly a dozen nonprofits and startup applicants that applied.
“Simply identifying which applicants the students could help was an opportunity to gauge their early learnings,” says McDonald, who is CEO of Angles & Insights marketing consultancy.
During weekly Google Hangouts, students interviewed board member and Digital Marketing Fuel CEO Bill Scully to fully understand OWC’s needs and limitations. Scully was very impressed by the thought and detail that went into the students’ final presentation and said OWC would benefit greatly from the plan, according to McDonald.
According to the students’ final report: “The goal is to raise awareness – among specific audiences via targeted, efficient social media outreach tactics – about Opportunity Works Connecticut and the benefits it provides to the local community of disabled adults.”
Students Create Materials for Framingham Downtown Renaissance
During the Spring 2016 semester, English Professor Colleen Coyne’s Business Writing students assisted the Framingham Downtown Renaissance (FDR) with the production of several professional materials.
Professor Coyne reached out to FDR executive director Holli Andrews last fall about partnering in a way that would be mutually beneficial to the students and to the non-profit agency, which is committed to facilitating the development of downtown Framingham as a vibrant blend of commercial and residential mixed-use.
The student completed several materials, including a Framingham Business Guide (The Complete Steps to Starting a Small Business in Framingham); an FSU Student’s Guide to Downtown Framingham; an FDR Social Media Handbook; and an FDR Intern and Volunteer Handbook.
Andrews was impressed by the professionalism of the students and says she is eager to begin using these materials and to share them with the many local community partners who support the small businesses of Downtown Framingham.
Warren Center Open House
The Community is invited to an Open House at the Warren Conference Center and Inn on Wednesday, May 25, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The University, with critical support from Senator Karen Spilka, was able to acquire the property with funds from the Commonwealth and the Town of Ashland.
Warren Conference Center and Inn
529 Chestnut St, Ashland, MA 01721