‘That’s my sister,’ a low voice called out proudly as Mary Lee received her bachelor’s degree in Lourdes University’s 56th commencement ceremony at SeaGate Convention Centre.
More than 450 Lourdes University students received affirmation that their years of study would lead to educational success as the class of 2014 was ceremoniously recognized as college graduates during the university’s commencement exercises Saturday.
“I’m just happy,” said Rashieda Timpson, 33, as she wiped tears away. She and friends Essence Bryant Bey, Kimyata Pettaway, and Jameelah Ragland officially completed the bachelor of science in nursing program.
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They stood among other graduates and relatives in the SeaGate Convention Centre lobby after the ceremony, hugging and crying over the end of an emotional and long academic journey.
“It’s finally over. It was a lot of hard work,” Ms. Timpson, a licensed practical nurse at Kingston Care Center in Sylvania, said.
“The future looks bright,” said Ms. Pettaway, who noted that she has a health-care position lined up in Detroit.
The woman were among the hundreds of graduates receiving undergraduate and master’s degrees in liberal studies including social work, business administration, psychology, and education.
Thousands of relatives and friends filled the stands in the main hall to show support.
Some called out “That’s my wife!” or “I love you!” as the new graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.
Toledo Museum of Art leader Brian Kennedy, receives a doctor of humanities degree, honoris causa, or conferred as an honor, from Lourdes University president David Livingstone.
Lourdes President David Livingston told the class of 2014 that they shared a special bond, as this was his first graduating class as the leader of Lourdes.
Lawrence Moore graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Lourdes University on Saturday. He was one of the more than 450 graduates who received degrees.
Mr. Livingston was installed as the ninth president of Lourdes in September, 2013.
“You inspire me. You showed me what a Lourdes degree is about, and what you will do for the world is also inspiring,” Mr. Livingston said.
Before students took the stage to receive diplomas, honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker Brian Kennedy encouraged the class to consider the power of imagination and carry forward the principles of St. Francis. Mr. Kennedy, president, director, and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art, told grads to work hard, always be learning, play hard, be kind, and learn to love.
Above all he encouraged them to celebrate life, while paying it forward and making the world a better place.
“Never be bored. There is always something you can do for others,” he said. “Imagine your world. Experience your work and you will have faith.”
He ended the address with a quote from John Lennon’s song of peace “Imagine”: “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you will join us. And the world will live as one.”
Ann Anderson Stranahan was also a honorary degree recipient. She was honored for her career in public television, growing the local WGTE Public Media and serving as the former director of the Public Broadcast Service in Washington. A Perrysburg resident, she was also honored by the university for her dedication to public service and poetry.
The promise of possibility, she told the students during the ceremony, is part of the Lourdes experience.
Founded by the Sisters of St. Francis in the mid-1900s, Lourdes’ teachings are based on Catholic values.
“Always look back and honor Lourdes as Lourdes has honored you,” she said.