Press release from Mansfield University regarding the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2017:
MANSFIELD, PA— Five hundred forty one students received degrees at Mansfield University’s 152nd Commencement on Saturday, May 13 at Decker Gymnasium.
MU President Fran Hendricks, a 1979 Mansfield graduate, told the graduates, “You will hear your name and your degree called, then you will across this stage and your life will be changed forever. The key for all is to venture forth and boldly use your Mansfield education and experience to boldly open the doors of opportunity that await each of you.”
Richard Cashman, Senior Magisterial District Judge for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a 1975 Mansfield graduate, was the speaker.
“I am not who I was in 1975, I am not who I was in 1995 or 2005,” Cashman said. “Living changes you, it demands that you grow. I believe, and I often express when in court, that life is a series of new beginnings, new opportunities, each with decisions that will shape the outcome. Today you will embark on a new beginning, young adult life in the post college world.”
Cashman spoke about the core values of the Mansfield Creed; Character, Scholarship, Culture, and Service, and how they can be used to guide the graduates in their futures. He added a fifth value, “a personal value, health.”
A former member of the MU Council of Trustees, Cashman talked about the ongoing study to decide the future direction of Mansfield and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
“For me, the value of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is personal,” Cashman said. “This system has changed the life story of families across Pennsylvania and mine is one of them. I believe the dream and reality of affordable higher education must be sustained for every parent and every student in every region of this Commonwealth.”
“Graduating from Mansfield University, you have indeed climbed the mountain,” Cashman told his new fellow alumni. “It was easier for some of you than for others, but for all of you it is an accomplishment that your parents, your friends and this University applaud. Today you get that diploma, use it well. You have an education founded on the core values for success that have stood for over a century. Let your commitment to a successful tomorrow begin here today.”
Sarah Polinski of Sayre, PA was named this year’s Outstanding Senior. She graduated summa cum laude in December with a 4.0 grade-point average and degrees in music education and vocal performance.
Polinski is the 2017 winner of the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. She also earned an Honorable Mention in the National Hal Leonard Vocal Competition in the Musical Theatre category.
Among her honors while attending MU were both the Fitz Dixon Memorial Scholarship and the Jack Wilcox Memorial Scholarship for Musical Theatre. She also received a Delta Kappa Gamma Education Grant.
Polinski was unable to attend Commencement because she is currently acting in the touring education production Ellis Island: Gateway to a Dream. Associate Professor of Music Alissa Rose accepted the award on her behalf.
The Student Government Association (SGA) presented a graduation coin to each graduate. Also, two staff members, representing tenets of the Mansfield Creed, were honored with the current year’s coin for their service to MU students.
SGA Past President Kiana Medley presented recipients Todd Ranney, associate professor of Music, and Donna Miner, administrative assistant in Student Life and Leadership, with this year’s coin.
Also during Commencement, Ralph Meyer represented the Council of Trustees and introduced Cashman. President Jamie Hall ’03 represented the Alumni Association.
The Mountaineer Brass Band, conducted by Associate Professor Nathan Rinnert, provided musical accompaniment for the event. Lucas Lourenco was soloist.
Assistant Professor Jonathan Rothermel served as grand marshal. Professor Scott Davis was herald. Campus Minister Timothy Parker delivered the convocation.
To see video of the entire ceremony, go to youtube.com/watch?v=xHhMhmnpLGc&feature=youtu.be&t=5751