MANSFIELD, PA— Three hundred and twenty five students received degrees at Mansfield University’s 153rd Commencement on Saturday, May 5 at Karl Van Norman Field.
“Your Mansfield degree, together with your Mansfield experience will help you achieve things you only dreamed of before starting your journey,” MU Interim President Scott Barton told the graduates. “Our core principles, our Mansfield Creed, teach us all about integrity, about learning, about celebrating humanity and helping others. These core principles with help you on the continuous path toward being the best version of yourself.”
“Graduates, when you leave here today please know that your path is just beginning and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed,” Barton added. “I want to thank you all for making your family and this University proud. Working together we make Mansfield University what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.”
Dolores Stafford, who is a 1987 Mansfield graduate and president and CEO of D. Stafford & Associates, a professional services firm focusing on safety and security related issues on college campuses, and executive director of the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers and Professionals (NACCOP), was the speaker.
Stafford recounted her childhood which was filled with challenges, including being told she would not be able to go to college, her time at Mansfield, her passion for law enforcement and her career challenges, which included being named the first female chief of Police at George Washington University at the age of 27.
She then shared the life lessons she has learned along her path to success.
“First, understand that where you start and where you finish depends on you,” Stafford said. “Second, your degree might get you in the door, but your attitude will make or break you. Third, the moments when you stumble do not define you. Fourth, the people you surround yourself with are your brand. Choose them carefully.”
“It is only fitting that I close by sharing the footer on every email I sent for nearly 20 years: ‘Only you can guard your integrity and only you can destroy it,’” Stafford added. “I encourage you to think before you act, and act in a manner that always guards your integrity. I wish you all much success and happiness as you start the next phase of your life. Go out and change the world.”
Mackenzie Hafer of Sayre, PA was named this year’s Outstanding Senior. She graduated with a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Accounting and a minor in Economics and Finance. Hafer has already secured a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the largest accounting firms in the nation.
During her time at Mansfield, Hafer served the Student Trustee on the University’s Council of Trustees, among many other leadership positions. Hafer is the daughter of Duane and Laurie Hafer, both Mansfield graduates. Her three older sisters; Mallory, Morgan and Meredith, all graduated from MU.
Also during Commencement, Hafer represented the Council of Trustees and introduced Stafford. President Joanie Cole Berney ’86 represented the Alumni Association. President Tyler Walters gave the greeting on behalf of the Student Government Association.
The Mountaineer Brass Band, conducted by Associate Professor Nathan Rinnert, provided musical accompaniment for the event. Nicolas Duffy was soloist.
Associate Professor Gretchen Sechrist served as grand marshal. Professor Scott Davis was herald and Professor Kathy Wright served as assistant herald. Campus Minister Timothy Parker delivered the convocation.
To view video of the entire ceremony, click here.