MANSFIELD - Three hundred and eighty six students received degrees at Mansfield University's 149th Commencement in May at Decker Gymnasium.
"Class of 2014, this is your day," said Fran Hendricks, Mansfield president. "Today is the culmination and recognition of your hard work. As of this day, your life will be changed forever. Today, you are receiving more than a degree in your chosen field of study. Today you are receiving a key to the door of opportunity.
"Always remember, challenges and rewards await the bold and the daring," he added. "Chart your course smartly and seize your destiny. As your university, we remain committed to each of you and willing to help you in any capacity we can. We are H2S, Here to Serve. As a fellow Mansfield University alum and your president, I welcome your feedback, insights and continued generosity. Working together we will ensure those who follow us into the seats of our university will have the same experiences and opportunities that were afforded you and me."
Dr. Francis (Frank) Duffy, distinguished educator, author and a 1974 Mansfield graduate, was the speaker.
Duffy is a professor of public administration and coordinates a Master of Public Administration program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
He also is the co-director of a national initiative to transform America's school systems called "FutureMinds," co-founder of an international movement to transform education called the "Voices of Vision Network" and is the author of nine books, many articles, and numerous chapters on how to transform organizations.
Reminding the class of 2014 that the root word of commencement, commence, means to begin he told them, "Today is the beginning of a lifetime of achievement in your personal and professional lives with a degree in your hand."
Duffy shared his personal Mansfield journey, which included flunking out on his first try, joining the Army and then returning to Mansfield to graduate.
He also shared the five beliefs that have influenced his life. "Find someone to love; take care of your physical and emotional health; find a career, then a job, develop an ownership mind-set toward Mansfield, and take charge of your life," he said
Citing examples, and pointing out several people who influenced and helped him, including his wife of 39 years, Marcia (Arnold), also a 1974 Mansfield graduate, and former Mansfield faculty members John Kovich and Thomas Stich, Duffy said, "As you move toward your goals and as you build your legacy you must do so with significant courage, passion and vision. You will need courage to stand your ground in the face of adversity as others tell you that you can't do the things you want to do or that they won't let you do the things you want to do even though you know you are right. You will need passion to give you the emotional energy needed to persevere toward your goals and the vision you have for your legacy. You will need a clear, compelling, and positive vision of who you want to become and how you want to be remembered."
"And you need all three of these traits. I know people who have courage, but no vision. I know people with a clear, compelling vision but they don't have the guts to stand up and fight for what they need and want. I know people who have a clear vision and who are courageous but they don't have the physical and emotional energy to persevere. You need all three - courage, passion, and vision."
Jenna Alderman of Corning, New York was named this year's Outstanding Senior. Nominated by the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Music, she received bachelor's degrees in French and music education, with a GPA of 3.919.
A two-time recipient of Outstanding Achievement in French Award and also recipient of the Ada Mae Saxton Music Scholarship, along with several other academic honors, Alderman completed a dual study abroad program in France in both her majors.
She also teaches private music lessons, has volunteered as a dance teacher and as a marching band technician for the Corning-Painted Post East High School and served as a counselor at area Girl Scout camps
Also during Commencement, Sharon Mokrzynski Kendrick '81, vice president of the Alumni Association, gave the alumni greeting and outgoing President Joshua Gibson represented the Student Government Association. Bobbi Kilmer '84 represented the Council of Trustees and introduced Duffy. Joseph Maresco, president, represented the Mansfield University Foundation and presented the class gift.
The MU Concert Wind Ensemble, conducted by professor Adam Brennan, provided musical accompaniment for the event. Campus minister Courtney Hull delivered the convocation. Associate professor Charles Hoy served as grand marshal and professor Lee Wright was herald.