St. Francis College winter graduates celebrate new year, look toward future
Almost 100 graduates of the Class of 2017 celebrated St. Francis College Winter Commencement with hundreds of family members and friends at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brooklyn Heights on Monday, Jan. 9.
Interim President of the College Dr. Timothy J. Houlihan began the commencement ceremony with a remembrance of President Brendan J. Dugan, ‘68, who passed away in December.
“President Dugan was born and raised in Brooklyn into an Irish immigrant family. He never forgot his roots and was fiercely proud of being an Irish Catholic kid from South Brooklyn,” said Houlihan. “The college was a place Brendan saw as a home away from home … He saw our community as an extension of his family and worked to create a friendly, caring and compassionate atmosphere on campus as we went about the business of running this college.”
Houlihan added that Dugan would remind students to remember their Franciscan values and continue to create friendly and compassionate relationships in their education, careers and other endeavors.
The valedictorian for the winter commencement was Christine F. Muraco, an accounting major who graduates from the five-year Combined Bachelors and Master’s Degree program, which she completed in 4 1/2 years.
Muraco said she appreciated the educational environment at St. Francis. “I was suddenly surrounded by determined, hardworking students that knew exactly what they wanted to do and were working hard to get there.”
The first person in her family to attend college, Muraco added, “When I saw an opportunity, I went for it. I jumped on any chance I had to learn more and better myself. That is an extremely important lesson in life. You have to go for things, seize opportunities, live life to the fullest.”
Christine is now working full time at CBS Corporation in their tax department, where she originally interned. In fact, CBS hired Christine full time and she completed her final semester balancing her new career with a full class load.
The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Evelyn A. Wolfe, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Wolfe spoke about the importance of taking classes outside of your major or specific interests.
“The education you receive here at St. Francis College is your toolbox. And it is wise to fill it with as many different tools as possible,” said Wolfe, who joined St. Francis College in 1995 and become chair just one year later. “The world is varied and changeable. The tools should help you to understand and interpret data, reason abstractly, think critically, contribute creatively and appreciate diversity and culture.”
Before commencement, a Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated by Fr. Brian Jordan OFM, director of the St. Francis College Campus Ministry. He also honored the memory of Dugan by reminding those in attendance that it was Dugan who stressed the importance of holding a Baccalaureate Mass immediately before Winter Commencement. Brian said that Dugan believed in the importance of everyone coming together to pray, no matter their religion, as a way to express the unity of the entire St. Francis College family.
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