The graduates of the Goodwin College Class of 2019 celebrated amidst cheers, screams, and words of fierce encouragement during Saturday’s commencement ceremony. This year’s ceremony was the first presided over by newly appointed provost Dr. Danielle Wilken and included the very first master’s degrees — Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Master of Science in Nursing — conferred by the College.
In addition to the 454 students who walked in the ceremony to receive their degrees and certificates, Goodwin conferred honorary degrees to actor and humanitarian Danny Glover, LGBTQ+ equality activist Anne Stanback, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Curtis Robinson.
“We all know the challenges of today. They are enormous,” Glover told the graduates. “But the work to be done after graduating college is important. Make this community a better community. Make this world a better place.”
Student speaker Connor Martin, one of the first recipients of Goodwin’s Master’s of Organizational Leadership (MSOL) program, shared how his time at Goodwin shaped him into the successful graduate he is today.
“Part of change is becoming uncomfortable,” Martin told his fellow graduates. “I had to realize that this journey I was on was uniquely my own. All of our journeys move at their own pace.”
Graduate Ralph Gagliardo earned his bachelor’s of science in Human Services and was selected by the faculty as one of the student speakers for the ceremony. Gagliardo shared his journey of drug addiction and imprisonment before turning over a new leaf to find success at Goodwin.
“On this campus, our past is not something we leave behind. It is something we embrace. Something we each bring to the table,” Gagliardo said. “Here I am on this day, on this stage, not only grateful to be alive, but my future has never looked brighter.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal spoke on stage during the ceremony, praising the students and the unique educational style of Goodwin College.
“Anyone who is depressed by America today, come here to Goodwin College,” Blumenthal said. “[President] Mark Scheinberg is a hero of American education.”
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.