Franklin Pierce graduates 519 students during 57th Commencement

  • Addison Wright of Indiana and Lauren Herrera of California crossed the country to attend Franklin Pierce University, and graduated together on Saturday. Both will be pursuing further education, with Wright expecting to attend law school and Herrera seeking a master’s degree in genetics. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Kyle Martin of Westford, Mass.; Anthony Nikolopoulos of Burlington, Mass.; Ryan Gorbett of Cleveland; and Graham Smith Wilmington, Mass., get ready to walk the stage for their diplomas. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Jazmyne Beck of Kalispell, Mont., sports a big grin as she waits for the start of graduation. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Renee Sangermano of Jaffrey returned to school after taking time off to have a family, and graduated with the Class of 2022 on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Jackie Bennett of Bellows Falls, Vt., awaits the start of the march to the graduation stage. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Michela Connors of Winchester, Mass.; Taniya Williams of Dorchester, Mass.; Hallie Shiarito of Newington, Conn.; and Catherine Pritchett of Groveton are ready to graduate. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Graduates line up in front of the library, preparing to walk to the graduation stage. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Nathan McCrowhan of Attleborough, Mass.; Kyalexandriah Nelson of Lawrence, Mass.; and Shamsa Mahijibhai of Lempster, Mass. prepare for the ceremony. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Paola Brena of Mexico is prepared to recieve her diploma. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Franklin Pierce Class President Samantha Grondin of Hillsborough and Giovanna Gasparre of New York prepare for Commencement. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Campbell Webster plays the Scottish pipes, leading the procession of professors and graduates to the stage. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Franklin Pierce University student Addison Wright marches to graduation. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

  • Franklin Pierce University President Kim Mooney gives the welcome address. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Valedictorian Viridiana Vasquez Kloss gives her address to her classmates. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Valedictorian Viridiana Vasquez Kloss gives her address to her classmates. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/16/2022 1:46:14 PM

More than 500 graduates of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge received their degrees Saturday during the university’s 57th Commencement ceremonies, with families and friends present to witness the ceremony for the first time since 2019.

The university conferred 519 degrees on Saturday, including doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. Among them was Renee Sangermano of Jaffrey, who decided in 2019 to return to school to finish her bachelor’s degree, a process she interrupted in 2001 to start her family.

Sangermano, the former director of the Jaffrey Recreation Department who now works for the Community Volunteer Transportation Company as an advancement assistant, received her diploma in human services after a mix of online and in-person coursework. She said she had long wished to finish her degree, and after hearing a presentation given by Franklin Pierce representatives to Town of Jaffrey employees, the time seemed right to jump back in.

“It has always been on my mind. It just seemed time to take the leap,” Sangermano said. “I’m very excited. This has been a long time coming, and I was doing my degree while I was working full-time, so I have worked very hard for this.”

In her address, valedictorian Viridiana Vasquez Kloss, of Veracruz, Mexico, spoke of her first impressions of the campus – quiet and in the middle of the woods, where even trips to a local shop became exciting outings. She also saw her first snow on campus.

“I also remember how excited we were when they canceled classes for snow days – until 2020 arrived,” Kloss said. “When the pandemic came, it was only supposed to be an extra week of spring break. We ended up going home for the rest of the semester. I have never seen students want to go back to school as much as I saw in that moment. That’s something that Franklin Piece managed to do. We begged to come back to classes.”

That drive, Kloss said, was because of how close-knit the community is.

“Franklin Pierce is a home for everyone. There are no labels or preconceptions and that is something that makes FPU unique and worthy,” Kloss said. “FPU tries to bring out the best in us and has helped us get to this point in our lives. It has prepared us for what will come next.”

Kloss majored in management in the College of Business while also earning a minor in marketing. Since completing her degree in December 2021, she has signed her first professional soccer contract and is currently playing professional soccer for Puebla WFC in Mexico.

During this year’s ceremony, the university presented honorary doctoral degrees in humane letters to journalist and media ethicist Richard T. Griffiths and author and memoirist Joyce Maynard.

Before his 2017 retirement, Griffiths was the vice president and senior editorial director for CNN. During his 26 years with the network, Griffiths oversaw the network’s editorial quality control, and has consulted on and taught journalism ethics, investigative reporting, media trust-building and editorial management both nationally and abroad. He is currently the president emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, promoting government access, free speech and continuing education for journalists.

Maynard, a New Hampshire native, got her start in publishing her work as a teenager, including a New York Times cover story she wrote at age 18, looking back on her life as a freshman at Yale University in 1972. She has since been a reporter and syndicated columnist, a contributor to National Public Radio, Vogue and The New York Times and a bestselling author with 18 titles to her name.

Maynard said everyone in the audience was a writer, and if they had no other story to tell, they had at least one in which they were the foremost expert – their own. She encouraged them to tell it, and to not sanitize it to tell only the parts that showed them as strong or infallible.

“Go live your story,” urged Maynard. “But also live it knowing it is important, it is valuable. There is somebody else out there who when they hear your story will feel less alone with their own. And it is not the heroic moments that are going to bring your reader to that, it’s the places where you are brave enough, fearless enough and shameless enough to tell the truth.”

Also presented during Saturday’s ceremony was The Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award, an award created in honor of late governor and second president of Franklin Pierce, Walter Peterson. James T. Brett, president and chief executive officer of the New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business association, was this year’s recipient. Brett was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives f0r 15 years, and in 2022, was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, a post he previously held under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

A recording of the ceremony and photos from the event will be available for viewing at

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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