With Every Diploma, a Milestone
FITCHBURG -- Standing before the Class of 2018 Friday night, Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus singled out one class member whose story inspired him, and serves as an example for others to follow.
He spoke of Kristin Laura King, a Fitchburg resident who entered FSU after serving in the military.
“The first airplane trip of her life was to go to basic training in South Carolina,” Lapidus said in his commencement address.
After the military, including a tour in Iraq, King decided to enroll at FSU, a decision that Lapidus said changed many lives for the better.
“Kristin doesn’t give up. She sought out other veterans on campus and immediately recognized the potential support system that could be offered,” Lapidus said, singling King out for a round of applause from the audience. “You stand as an inspiration to all of us, who you have already taught so very much.”
Lapidus said the graduates should prepare for difficulties, challenges, and loss. “Be resilient because these are the moments that might build your character and serve as a catalyst for others,” he said.
It was one of many inspirational stories that marked Fitchburg State’s 122nd Winter Commencement, at the Athletics and Recreation Center. The 492 graduates were urged to enjoy their triumph, prepare for new challenges, and share the knowledge they have acquired over the past four years with others.
Lapidus said the night represented a milestone for the graduates as they prepared to take the next step in their lives.
“This will become one of the most memorable nights of your life, the beginning of one journey and the completion of another,” he said.
Valedictorian Quinn Staley told her fellow graduates not to be afraid as they went out into the world. She urged them to remember that the best things come to those who have patience.
“I hope you think of every failure as a hurdle and not a roadblock,” said Staley, of Wareham. “You deserve this and you’ve earned this. Congratulations, Class of 2018.”
Before the ceremony, several graduates reflected on their time at the school.
Geoffrey Hines of Leominster said he was shocked to have finally made it to graduation.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it to this point, but Fitchburg State has prepared me well to go into the workforce, so I’m very excited,” Hines said.
Duncan Anthony Martinez, of Hudson, said he felt a sense of relief as he prepared to receive a diploma.
“All the pressure of the past four years is finally done, so it’s exciting,” he said.
Nicole Elizabeth Rossi of Leominster said it was a bittersweet night.
“I’m very excited but it’s a little sad to be leaving because I loved my four years here,” Rossi said. “But it’s a relief that we made it.”
Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenLandry17.