MANSFIELD, PA – One hundred eighty three students received degrees at Mansfield University’s 154th Commencement on Saturday, December 15 at Decker Gymnasium.
“Graduates, we wish you well in all you do. We wish for you career success, personal fulfillment, and a lifetime of service in your communities. We hope that you will remain a part of the Mansfield University family wherever you will be,” MU Interim President Peter Fackler told the graduating class. He added, “Please remember that this is home for you, and you are forever welcome in our midst.”
Nancy Sidell, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, was this years keynote speaker. Dr. Sidell arrived at Mansfield in 1998 and served as Social Work Program director until 2014. Dr. Sidell most recently served as Interim Associate Provost prior to her retirement in May, 2018.
“I personally have three wishes for you today and the theme they each have in common is respect. I could start singing RESPECT in honor of Aretha Franklin but no one would respect me for that, I assure you! Respect has been defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a feeling of deep admiration for someone … elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Synonyms include words like esteem, regard, high opinion, and honor. For Aretha, respect was about these things, but also about empowerment and social justice. For me, today, respect is embedded in my three wishes for you,” Sidell said. “I wish you the ability to respect and honor your roots; to respect others by actively listening to them; and to respect yourself by continuing to learn.”
“In conclusion,” Dr. Sidell said “I join the university community and your own personal circle of support in congratulating you and wishing you a bright future, filled with respect for others and for yourself. I hope you give some thought to my three wishes for you: to respect and honor your roots; to respect others by actively listening; and to respect yourself by always continuing to learn. RESPECT.”
Also during the ceremony, Chelsea Thomas ’20 represented the Council of Trustees and introduced Dr. Sidell, President Michael Kane ’03 represented the Alumni Association, and President Caroline Hutchison ’19 represented the Student Government Association.
The Mountaineer Brass Band, conducted by Dr. Nathan Rinnert, provided musical accompaniment for the event. Ms. Shannon Pizzirusso was student soloist. Pastor Thadius E. Sales ’17 delivered the invocation.
Associate Professor Gretchen Sechrist served as Grand Marshal, and Professor Scott Davis served as Herald.
The full broadcast of the fall commencement is available on our YouTube channel.