Nearly 1,400 degrees were awarded at Plymouth State University’s 142nd commencement ceremony on Saturday. Sara Jayne Steen, PSU president, welcomed the guests, stating the event was a joyous one.
“Because of an extraordinary faculty and staff,” Steen said, “PSU students achieve at the highest levels. These candidates are teachers, scientists, artists, health care professionals, business entrepreneurs and more. Their contributions will be enormous.”
Richard H. Solomon, former president of the United States Institute of Peace, provided the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the institution.
Solomon is considered one of the major figures in international relations over the past several decades, participating in peace agreements across the globe. He retired last year after 19 years at USIP where he oversaw its growth into a center of international conflict management.
He focused on the difficulty of problems facing the world today, tempered with the impressive advance of technology and knowledge that can help overcome these issues.
“For graduating seniors, you inherit this complex legacy of the 20th century,” Solomon said. “You didn’t ask for this inheritance; or for the special challenge of beginning your professional careers in a time of educational debt and job uncertainty. Yet for those with education and an entrepreneurial spirit, this is a time to build careers on the promising possibilities of technological innovation and social mobility. Be agents of change. We are early in a century that will see transformative innovations that will further improve the quality of life in ways beyond the imagination of my 20th century experience. Be risk takers. Use your 20s — before obligations of family life constrain risk taking — to exercise your insights and indulge your passions.”
Stephanie Melo, Class of 2013 president, urged her classmates to set goals and accomplish their dreams.
“With the combination of our experiences at Plymouth State, we have what we need to fulfill our dreams,” said Melo. “Take these experiences with you to pursue new goals and dreams.”
Judith Ciesielski, representing graduate students, wished all of the graduates success, however they might define it, and referred to Ralph Waldo Emerson as having shaped her sense of its meaning: leaving the world a better place.
The 2013 Commencement marked the first graduation for PSU’s nursing degree program. Thirty pre-licensure and two RN-BS baccalaureate degrees were awarded.
The commencement ceremony was held under sunny skies at Currier Memorial Field in Holderness and was attended by thousands of family members and guests.