More than eight hundred participants attended commencement exercises, as Antioch University New England (AUNE) awarded degrees to one hundred thirty-eight graduates and finishers on Saturday, May 17, at Keene Middle School.
Acting Director of the Peace Corps Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the Commencement speaker, noted that the Peace Corps and AUNE have much in common. “Our purpose is sparking real change, one person, one connection at a time,” she said. She urged the graduates to follow their own lights, without restraint. “Live a life of passion–jump in with both feet,” she said. “Go the distance and then stay a while—the most important things in life are defined by relationships. And cultivate an attitude of service.”
On Friday, Hessler-Radelet signed an agreement to establish a Master’s International program at AUNE, many of whose students and graduates have also been Peace Corps volunteers.
President Stephen Jones welcomed the graduates and guests and awarded the diplomas. “I wish you a life focused in the spirit and intent of Antioch,” he said. “I wish you become your own rock; that your own core principles, value-based character, and the commitment to environmental and social justice constitute your rock.”
He also presented the President’s Distinguished Leadership award to Marilyn Castriotta, MS ’14, and chair of student government, who graduated from the Department of Environmental Studies with a master’s degree. The Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award was presented to Walter “Chuck” Stead, PhD ’14, for his efforts in the campaign to clean up a major Superfund site in the Torne Valley of New York.
The musical performance was a song, Byari Bikwiye (It Was Worth It) written by ES doctoral student Apollinaire William and sung in Kinyarwanda by William, Yves Gakunde, MS ’12, Viola Katusiime, MS ’14, Director of Admissions Laura Andrews, and Jim Gruber, ES faculty member.