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95 Graduates Receive Degrees at UMM's 102nd Commencement

Added on: May 20, 2013

102nd Commencement of the University of Maine at MachiasMACHIAS, Maine – A total of 95 graduates received degrees at the 102nd Commencement of the University of Maine at Machias, held Saturday, May 18, at the Frederic A. Reynolds Center.

UMM President Dr. Cynthia Huggins presided over the ceremony at which three students were presented Associate of Science degrees, and 84 received Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of College Studies degrees. Seven students participating in the UMM ceremony received their Associate of Science in Nursing from the University of Maine at Augusta, and one student received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maine.

During his keynote address, retired journalist Jim Thompson congratulated the graduates on their decision to pursue an education anchored in the liberal arts.

“The only constant in this world is change,” he said. “The broader your education, the easier change can be accommodated. The narrower the scope of your education, the more likely you will be made obsolete sometime during your career.”

Thompson was presented with the Distinguished Service Award for his dedicated service to organizations throughout Washington County.

He told the graduates to “engage the world around you by making community service a permanent part of your professional and personal life. I guarantee you will gain more than you give.”

Jim Thompson, 2013 commencement speakerReceiving the Distinguished Achievement Award was Passamaquoddy basketmaker Molly Neptune Parker, who was named a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for 2012. Parker was recognized for her dedication to preserving the Passamaquoddy basketmaking tradition for future generations.

UMM’s Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Rep. Kenneth Fredette, a 1987 graduate of the University. Fredette is the House Republican Leader of the Maine State Legislature, representing House District 25. An attorney in private practice, he is also a member of the Maine Air National Guard and has served for twelve years as a judge advocate general.

The ceremony also featured the presentation of the Ivy Oration by Jonathan Winglass, an environmental recreation and tourism management graduate from Sandown, New Hampshire. Winglass was selected by his peers to speak about his experiences over the past four years at UMM.

Emeritus rank was conferred upon retiring employees Stephanie Larrabee, director of financial aid, Bernice Murphy, associate professor of business administration, and Gael Romei, associate professor of education, who have served the University and its students for a combined 80 years.

As the ceremony drew to a close, UMM President Cynthia Huggins told the graduates to “focus on the next thing that you really want to do, and don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t settle for the comfortable, the easy, the safe path in life. You can do better than that.”

Saturday’s ceremony included a special tribute to former UMM President John Joseph, who passed away ten years ago on commencement day in 2003. Eastern white pine saplings were given to each of the graduating seniors, a tradition started by Joseph while president of the institution from 2000 to 2003. The UMM Ukulele Club, under the direction of music professor Gene Nichols, closed the ceremony by performing Dale Evans’ “Happy Trails” in memory of the former president.

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