Becker College’s 231st Commencement
Published on: May 8, 2019
Becker College graduates, dressed in caps and gowns, filed into DCU Center as family, friends, and guests cheered them on. The College celebrated its 231st Commencement on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 and Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America delivered this year’s Commencement speech to graduates.
“With so much uncertainty ahead of you,” Maxman said, “it may not always feel like it, but you have power. And today, I want to celebrate that power – the result of your hard work, your education, and newly minted degree, but not just of skills and knowledge you’ve gained here at Becker, but the embrace of Becker’s core values will be priceless and important no matter where you go in life.”
Maxman encouraged graduates to use their power for good and to put their talent, dedication, imagination, and creativity to help communities that need them, whether close by in Central Massachusetts or abroad.
“As all of you move forward into this new chapter, I challenge you to listen and stay true to your heart – that inner voice that is telling you who you really want to be. Be that person”
The College awarded Maxman with an honorary doctorate in humane letters. The College also awarded honorary doctorates to Alexis Agrinsoni (’09), Regional Recovery Manager for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, who was also this year’s Honors Convocation speaker; Senator Harriette L. Chandler, Senate President Emerita and Democrat representing Worcester; and Sarah Harrington Williams, former member of the Becker College Board of Trustees and Co-Founder of Treasure Hunt Farm where she is also a Trustee of the Sarah H. Williams Treasure Hunt Farm Foundation.
“At Becker College, we believe that education is a lifelong process,” said Becker College President Nancy Crimmin. “As a community, we collectively share in the hope that when you leave us, you will take with you all of the knowledge and skills you learned while you were with us – and will keep learning every day.”
The College awarded graduates master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees. Those who officially graduated last December or those who are expected to graduate this August were also invited to receive their diplomas. Joshua Hall, who graduated with a degree in interactive media, delivered an address on behalf of students.
“Becker has provided me with an immense amount of opportunities,” Hall said. “I chased after each and every one of them. This is something I want all of you to consider. When you are given an opportunity, go after it. It may be scary, it may be hard, but I guarantee you that you will be happy you tried.”
Among this year’s graduates were a mother and daughter who graduated together with the same degree. Both also graduated with honors. Kimberly Jarzinski and Sydney Anger earned their bachelor of science in business administration from the School of Graduate & Professional Studies. Neither planned on taking the stage together, but both feel fate intervened.
“I always admired her,” Anger said about her mom. “She has always been my role model. She’s a single mom, worked full-time really hard, and I’m really proud of her.”
Each graduate’s name was read as they took the stage to receive their diploma from President Crimmin. When all of the graduates had received their diplomas, Alex Norton (’15), president-elect of the Becker College Alumni Association, took to the podium to officially ask graduates to move their tassels from right to left. And with that, the graduates of Becker College officially became alumni. President Crimmin offered final words to the graduates.
“Do not let the problems of the world overwhelm you,” President Crimmin said. “Let problems lead you to solutions. Have the courage to follow your heart and conviction. Live with honor and dignity. Lead with authenticity and commitment. Respect others – and all of life. You can be a new force for change in the world.”
Watch media coverage of Kimberly Jarzinski and Sydney Anger, the mother daughter pair who graduated together from Becker College:
WHDH TV, Boston (Channel 7): https://whdh.com/news/mother-and-daughter-graduate-college-together/
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (photo gallery): https://www.telegram.com/photogallery/WT/20190504/NEWS/504009995/PH/1
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (feature story): https://www.telegram.com/news/20190504/speaker-abby-maxman-tells-becker-grads-peace-corps-stint-was-launching-pad-for-life
Worcester News Tonight (Channel 3 Worcester): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0qikZdXoRk