University awards advanced degrees to largest graduate class in history

May 20, 2024
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Worcester State University celebrated the Graduate Class of 2024 on May 17 with a joyful Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony that featured an address by Webster Superintendent of Schools Monique Pierangeli ’15, M.S. ’24. With 293 graduates, the class is the largest in the university’s history.

In the opening remarks, Dr. Roberta Kyle, associate vice president for Continuing Education and Graduate Studies, reflected on the perspectives of astronauts who have had the rare and life-changing opportunity to see Earth from high above. “Our experience of our planet growing up is of that globe on the teacher’s desk, where earth is chopped up into different colors, territorial lines, names of places,” she said.

From space, Kyle continued, Earth looks completely different.

“Humankind has created the maps, the borders, the names of places,” she said. “In the cosmos, we are one Earth where land and seas, rivers and mountains are all connected. Tonight, in this room, as we gather together to honor our students and recognize their hard work, I am reminded about that connection and the diversity of thought, experience, culture, and religion that we honor here at Worcester State. I celebrate our students who are dedicating their lives to improving the world, in so many powerful ways.”

Dana Perry ’16, president of the Alumni Association’s Advisory Board, spoke of the friendships he has maintained with his fellow alumni since graduating. “We get together and discuss how meaningful our Worcester State experience is to us, how we directly link this to our continued pursuit of our dreams – fulfilling jobs, steady climbs up career ladders, more graduate school.”

Perry urged them to stay connected to Worcester State and “consider yourself one of our family, the Worcester State University family.”

In her remarks, Pierangeli, who earned her master’s degree in management at the ceremony, spoke of how she has had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to lead a school district. She took an unusual path to her leadership position, earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees as a working parent. She was appointed superintendent in 2023.

Discomfort, Pierangeli said, fosters resilience, innovation, and passion. “The future you envision won’t be built in a comfy little box,” she told the graduates. “It will be built through calculated risks, through embracing the unknown, and through the exhilarating discomfort of growth. Don’t be afraid to feel the butterflies, the nervous sweat, the thumping heart. It’s a sign you’re on the right track. Embrace the discomfort, for on the other side, lies an exciting future with many possibilities.”


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