FPU celebrates classes of 2020, 2021 in commencement ceremony

  • Valedictorian Amalia Traffie gives her speech at the FPU Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, with the majority of the audience listening to the ceremony via livestream. Courtesy photo

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo—

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo—

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo—

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo—

  • Franklin Pierce students graduated Saturday, May 15, on the Rindge campus. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/17/2021 1:20:19 PM

Graduating Ravens from the class of 2021 were joined by their 2020 counterparts to walk across the stage and collect their diplomas on Saturday, while their family members viewed the ceremony on livestream from home.

The University conferred 556 degrees, including 83 doctoral, 110 master’s, 356 bachelor’s and seven associate’s degrees.

Valedictorian Amalia “Amy” Traffie spoke to her fellow classmates about her decision to come to Franklin Pierce.

Originally from South Dakota, Traffie said the leap to decide to go to school halfway across the country was the biggest one she had ever made – and she thought, the largest she would have to make for a long time.

“But I realized in these four years is that we will never be done making decisions. I’ve had to say yes or no to so many opportunities along the way, and there will always be another choice to make,” Traffie said. “Although those choices may not always be clear or easy, I know the experiences I’ve had during my college career have prepared me to take on the future. I am certain that many of you, amid the nervous excitement of stepping out into the world, are feeling the same way.”

Traffie said the focus of the day should be on the graduates and their future, but said she had to acknowledge the difficulties COVID-19 put on the end of their college careers.

“We have achieved so much together, and while I don’t want to give too much attention to COVID-19 today, because I think it has overwhelmed our thoughts enough, I do want to recognize the tremendous hurdles we have overcome,” Traffie said. “Remote learning was not easy, and being distant from campus, friends and clubs was disheartening, but our presence here today proves our desire to learn and embrace life deeply despite it all.”

Fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Franklin Pierce University President Kim Mooney congratulated the students for their grace in navigating a school year entirely under coronavirus protocols.

“I congratulate you on your academic and personal accomplishments throughout your education at Franklin Pierce and on earning your degrees, from the doctorate to the associates. Today, you will take more significant steps at Franklin Pierce as you walk across the stage this morning. You will join me as a proud alum of this University,” Mooney told graduates.

This year’s recipients of the university’s awards and honorary degrees shared their remarks with students virtually, through pre-recorded messages.

Shanendon Eugene Cartwright was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws. Cartwright is an alum of the university, having graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in English with a minor in history. He is the first person of color to serve as the Chair of the university’s Judicial Board.

The university also recognized former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, John Broderick Jr., who in addition to his service as a judge, has been an advocate for mental health and led the charge to have New Hampshire become the first state to join the Change Direction Campaign, a national initiative to change the culture of mental health. Broderick was honored with the Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award.

“Don’t assume that what you want to be or do is your purpose,” Broderick said. “A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives. This is why we continue to honor Walter Peterson. Your purpose may not come until you’re 67, but if you’re lucky, it will come.”

A recording of the Commencement Ceremony and photos from the event will be available for viewing at franklinpierce.edu/commencement. 


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