The 336 graduates at the Forty-Fourth Annual Commencement ceremony at Middlesex Community College Thursday night were told to live by the “F’s” in their lives.
Dr. Janis Hadley, president emeritus of Housatonic Community College, gave the graduates her “F” philosophy during the commencement speech. The “F” philosophy is faith, family, friends, food, fitness, fun, frivolousness, forgiveness and philanthropy. She laughingly told the crowd that she knows “philanthropy” doesn’t start with “F,” but the idea is there for them to know what she is getting at.
Hadley described what some of the words mean to her. Family and friends are important, forgiveness reminds me, “I’m not perfect,” she said. The word philanthropy tells me to give back.
Hadley said that no matter what happens in the world from hurricanes, tornadoes, wars, and other devastating acts what you do with yourself and your life still matters.
Hadley read a poem, “Life Is Just A Minute” by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, a past president of Morehouse College, located in Georgia. The poem states, “Life is just a minute—only sixty seconds in it. Forced upon you—can't refuse it. Didn't seek it—didn't choose it. But it's up to you to use it. You must suffer if you lose it. Give an account if you abuse it. Just a tiny, little minute, But eternity is in it!”
Hadley told the graduates, “You have completed one second of your life. What will you do with the other 59 seconds?”
Interim President Dr. Jonathan M. Daube said this year’s graduates include a mother and son and a husband and wife graduating together. There were 14 more graduates this year than last year, Daube said.
“You are remarkable people, don’t you forget it,” Daube said. “You decide what you are.”
Daube told the 2011 graduating class to use the skills they learned during their time at college.
Daube has been the interim president since 2010. He was brought out of retirement to take the position, Daisy Trahan, Communication Specialist at the college, said. Before his retirement Daube had been the president of Manchester Community College for over 20 years, Trahan said.
President Emeritus Robert A. Chapman, who was the second president of the college from 1976 to 1989, received an honorary degree during the ceremony. It was only the second honorary degree given out by the college. The first one was presented in 2000.
Chapman said he was “honored beyond belief” about receiving the honorary degree. He found it “humbling.” He was particularly pleased that it was coming from a community college especially Middlesex Community College, Chapman said.
State Rep. Matthew Lesser (Durham, Middletown, Middlefield), who gave the graduates greetings from the General Assembly, said he was excited to have the opportunity to speak at the college. He refers to the college as “a gem of an institution in the area.”
Lesser said that “learning is a life long process” and that “learning never stops.”
“You have revealed your passion to learn by you being here,” Lesser told the graduates.
Pritchett-Taylor Scholarship Awards were given to Sara Elizabeth Neely of Old Saybrook and Nicole M. Scoffone of Wallingford. Board of Trustees’ Medallions for Academic Excellence were awarded to Sara Neely, Stacy L. Sodergren of Killingworth and Cheryl Young of Cromwell.
To see the ceremony video, click here.
For a list of graduates, see here.