The One Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Commencement
Bloomfield College graduated 266 students, making history with eight of those graduating with a Master of Science in Accounting, the College’s first master’s program. The rain held off until most were under the tent erected on the Quad and the ceremony was punctuated with sounds of thunder, although it hardly damped the spirits of the 266 graduates and their families and friends.
Those earning an honorary Doctor of Laws were the late S. Jervis Brinton, former trustee and philanthropist whose widow Antonia Marotta Brinton accepted on his behalf; Mary Jo Codey, former first lady of New Jersey, teacher and women’s health advocate; Jeh Charles Johnson, Esq., general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense; and William E. Strickland Jr., president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, social architect, community leader, and visionary. Each recipient brought a poignant message to the graduating class.
Mrs. Brinton, upon accepting the doctoral hood and degree, told the audience that her husband would have loved this. She said that her husband’s most redeeming characteristics were his patience, compassion, and ability to listen. “He referred to Bloomfield College as a jewel and he truly loved this place, especially commencement,” she said. “He enjoyed seeing the success of Bloomfield College students.” Mr. Brinton was on the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees and was serving as vice president at the time of his passing. He truly believed in giving to his community and education and health care were two of his favorite causes. His biography can be read here: S. Jervis Brinton Biography (pdf)
Mrs. Codey told the graduates that she had discovered service through adversity. As a survivor of both post-partum depression and breast cancer, she used her public face to encouraged women through education and public service to tackle both these issues. Her advice to the graduating class was that family, friends, and faith can help through anything. “Never be afraid to ask for help and be aware of those around you who may need your help,” she said. “We need less facebook time and more face time in order to reach out to those around us.” She also urged the graduates to grab opportunity and don’t be afraid of taking risks. “Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining, and you can make good out of tragedy,” she said. “And remember to give back, help others and speak for those who do not have a voice.” Read her biography here: Mary Jo Codey Biography (pdf)
Mr. Johnson talked about service to country and related the stories of those who have served recently in conflicts around the world. He spoke of selfless service to others and of those with humility who do not seek fame for their actions. He told the graduates of a letter written by a young sergeant before he was killed in an IED explosion. He read, “I may not change the world, but just one child may be safe because I was here. If my life buys the safety of a child, then it was worth it.” He told the graduates to work hard and to serve others with their education and that he was humbled by his new degree. Read about Mr. Johnson here: Jeh Johnson Biography (pdf)
Mr. Strickland began his speech by saying that “for many reasons I have decided to dedicate my life to those with no hope.” He talked about living in the inner-city as a child and how an educator showed him that he could be more than he expected of himself. He is serving on the board of trustees at his alma mater and was its commencement speaker. “Don’t give up on the poor kids,” he said, “they may grow up to be commencement speakers!” He noted that his center for education and the arts is located in a high crime area of Pittsburgh, yet they have never had an incident. “People come to our center because it offers them education and a way to achieve,” he said. “My hope is that you will join me in my work for a better world as you are uniquely qualified to do so.” His biography can be read here: Bill Strickland Biography (pdf)
Congratulations to the Class of 2012!https://picasaweb.google.com/101846196340425003795/Commencement2012#