Anna Maria 2018 Commencement

Commencement 2018
WORCESTER — Anna Maria College graduates celebrated, during the school’s 69th commencement exercises Saturday, the culmination of four years of hard work and determination at the Catholic institution inspired by the ideals of the Sisters of Saint Anne. Graduation was in the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. President Mary Lou Retelle, who took her post four years ago when the graduates were incoming freshmen, said that during her first term as president at Anna Maria, she had similar feelings as the students had as they settled in on campus, contemplating what lay ahead. “Transcending everything for me was a powerful feeling of optimism as your new president, and with good reason,” Ms. Retelle said. “The optimism I saw in every single one of your faces, I see it, again, today on your faces.” The work of all members of the Anna Maria community, she said, has made the college stronger and greater and led to an increase in enrollment each year and a new bold direction set by the school’s board of trustees. “Across the nation people need your help,” she told the graduates and encouraged them to go into the world and contribute, not to filter facts as they access all the information they have available, and not to equivocate when it comes to their morals. Ms. Retelle quoted from Pope Franics’ message given during his Palm Sunday homily.
“Dear young people, you have it in you to shout,” she said. “It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?” Undergraduate student speaker Bryanna C. Tobin, who majored in psychology and is planning a career in music therapy, said the people she connected with at Anna Maria the last four years are more like family than friends. “You know more about us than we know about ourselves at times,” Ms. Tobin said. “I’ve learned so much from my time at Anna Maria.” She asked her fellow classmates to listen to the words of author and activist Arthur R. Ashe Jr., an African-American professional tennis player who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion and went on to advocate for those with AIDS and against social injustices.

“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have and do what you can,” she told the assembly.

The graduates, who come from diverse backgrounds, she said, including some who are parents and “some who don’t know what they would do without their parents,” all have the tools needed to make a difference in the world. She encouraged those in the audience to introduce themselves to the person near them and share their story – “You’ve started where you are,” she said. She told them to take what they had learned the last four years, embrace life, be successful and make the world a better place. “Do what you can – that does not mean doing the bare minimal,” she said. “Recognize your potential and achieve it. ... Find your passion, set goals, make your dreams and achieve them, no matter how long it takes. Put the work in, and in your own unique way, you will change the world.” Click here to view images from Commencement Weekend. Article taken from (

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