ROCKLAND — On Saturday, May 3, more than 120 people celebrated this year's 51 graduates at University College at Rockland. Although students will march with cap and gown at the Augusta Civic Center this weekend, the local celebration is a time of intimate stories and support amongst peers who shared the college journey together.
Shannon Kinney, founder of Dream Local Digital, presented the keynote address. Kinney delivered a call to action outlining five points of inspiration reflected in her own personal journey. She returned to Maine from a successful career in Boston, Chicago and Silicon Valley with her "dream" of starting a local business with a national market while also giving birth to her first child. Kinney talked about the highs and lows of finding her way to success and overcoming the feedback of others who said she was "trying to do too much." With passion and a commitment to living, she knew her strengths and pushed through the challenges as she came to understand, "This is who I am."
Steven Heddericg, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, was the student speaker. Heddericg delivered a hilarious metaphor comparing The Grapes of Wrath and the URock experience. Bill Halpin, adjunct faculty in the humanities opened with an Invocation, an original poem entitled Something there is that loves a door, a thoughtful piece about passing through to another space.
Chip Curry, student service coordinator at University College at Rockland, recognized the student leaders of the 2013-14 academic year and welcomed in the new team for the upcoming year. The URock Student Association directs the spending of student activity funds, and this year sponsored HD theater productions and live concert events at the Strand, a trip to the Fort Knox Haunted House, a trip to Boston and the Museum of Science, as well as coffee houses, open mic nights, and food for finals and mid-terms.
Bonnie Sparks, director of University College and UMS Distance Education, and Deborah Meehan, director of University College at Rockland presented the student awards: Perfect 4.0 GPA (only one of 600 graduates) to Liam Sigaud; Joshua Bowen Performing Arts Award to Faith Stevens; Business and Professional Women's Maine Futurama Scholarship to Jennifer Boynton; Martin and Molly Schwartz Scholarship to Debra Whittier; Honors Program Certificates of Completion to Richard Fortuna, Steve Heddericg, and Margaret Troost; Honors Student Association Leadership Awards to Richard Fortuna and Willow Henry-Elwell; and the Jeffrey Klivans Scholarship to Christopher Lowden.
Maureen Morse, currently a nursing student, delivered a special memorial tribute to long time faculty member, Cynthia Seefahrt.
Margaret Troost, graduating with a bachelor’s in liberal studies, personally created over 100 silk daffodils for graduates and their guests and read from the poems, Desiderata and Daffodils by William Wordsworth.