Framingham State Celebrates Two Classes with Virtual Ceremonies

Framingham State Celebrates Two Classes with Virtual Ceremonies

May 24, 2021

Following an extremely difficult year in the lives of so many, members of the Framingham State University community gathered virtually to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021.

"While we did everything in our power to maintain some sense of normalcy this past year, we recognize the pandemic made that nearly impossible," said Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. "That you managed to make it to this moment in spite of everything is a demonstration of your hard work and perseverance. I have so much confidence in all of you and I can't wait to see all that you accomplish."

Congresswoman Katherine Clark told the Class of 2021 that the challenges they have faced over the past year will further prepare them to take action in order to meet the trials that lie ahead.

"In the last year, you have marched and voted in record numbers," said Clark. "You have also fueled the movement for Black Lives, spoke up to end transphobia, and fought to stop Asian hate. Today, we are not just celebrating your graduation but your transition from student to citizen. The lessons you have learned throughout the pandemic are your guideposts in life. To adapt, to find strength in the worst of times, and to show up and speak out."

The University conferred upon Clark an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony. The President's Medal, which is the highest honor awarded by the Office of the President at FSU, was also conferred to Professor Halcyon Mancuso from the English Department. Mancuso, who funds several initiatives at FSU including two full ride scholarships and the Mancuso Humanities Workforce Preparation Center, encouraged the graduates to "pay it forward" as they move through life by doing good deeds for others.

"I like the notion of 'paying it forward' because it implicitly uses the idea of small actions that compound over time to create large changes," said Mancuso.

During the Class of 2020 commencement, keynote speaker Lyndia Downie, President and CEO of the Pine Street Inn in Boston, told the students about the organization's strategy of providing long-term housing to the chronically homeless, and how it has led to Boston having one of the lowest percentages of homeless people living on the street in the entire country. She urged the students to use all they have learned to benefit civilization.

"You have grown up in a generation that has seen the most profound progress in technology, artificial intelligence and our ability to capture and synthesize data," Downie said. "You may well be the smartest, most diverse and well-informed group in the history of the country. What will you do with this access, this data, and how will you use it to create a better civilization? Because in the end, that is what education is all about."

Downie was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony.

In early June, the University is holding its Ram Graduation Walk, providing all students from both classes the opportunity to walk across the stage while friends and family look on.

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 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.