JWU News

Find Challenges + Joy: 2018 Graduate Commencement Highlights

Jubilant new grads at the 2018 Commencement ceremony at JWU’s Providence Campus.

5/18/18 | “Growth never happens in comfort zones,” graduate student speaker Marissa Mayo ’18 told the assembled crowd of jubilant soon-to-be-grads, parents, families and friends at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Mayo admitted to the crowd that she decided to be Commencement speaker when she realized it was an opportunity to challenge herself in a new way: “As someone who has lived her entire life with a speech impediment — a stutter — I am one of those individuals who typically strongly dislikes (and mostly avoids) speaking in front of people. I had to do [this] for myself, just to prove … that I could.”

Growth happens during times when you are truly out of your element.”

She urged her fellow grads to do the same — to face their fears, and push, push, push through big fears that might stand in their way.

“Growth happens during times when you are truly out of your element, where you are truly uncomfortable. I know that each and every one of you has experienced these types of moments where you are thinking, ‘I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you do it anyway — in these moments, you grow.”

Keynote speaker Laura Freid, EdD, president of the Maine College of Art, urged students to focus on becoming generous, open and whole individuals: “Generosity is often not about material things, so even if you don’t have a lot of material wealth you can still be a giver in many ways. In fact, taking care of others — being empathetic, being in touch with your emotions — is more important than you might think. If you can give someone joy, I can assure you it will make you happy.”

If you can give someone joy, I can assure you it will make you happy.”

President Freid was honored with a Doctor of Business Administration, as was Joseph Beretta, president and chief financial officer of Robinson Green Beretta Corp.

All told, 17 graduates attained the highest education degree possible: a doctor of education in educational leadership. They joined a total of 329 doctoral graduates who have achieved this level of excellence over the past 20 years.

This year’s total degrees awarded:

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership: 17
  • Master of Science: 68
  • Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS): 31
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): 14
  • Master of Education: 6
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): 238
  • Total: 374

Procession of academic leaders.

Graduate student speaker Marissa Mayo '18

Provost Hsu confers the Doctor of Business Administration upon Keynote Speaker Laura Freid of Maine College of Art.

Provost Hsu, Joseph Beretta '18 Hon. and Chancellor John J. Bowen '77

Chancellor Bowen

The joy of a new grad.

Waving at Commencement



Topics: Providence Commencement