Byline: Priyanka Dayal
WORCESTER - Col. Marian J. McGovern, herself a history-maker, asked graduates of Worcester State College yesterday to learn from history and fight for a better future.
Col. McGovern, the first woman to head the Massachusetts State Police, admitted that when she was younger, she didn't think of the past, she looked only ahead.
But, she said, "I have come to appreciate the value of sacrifices made in the past."
She evoked the passion and devotion of the founding fathers who shaped the country's democracy, and told graduates to follow their lead by marrying the past with the "extremely hectic technological world" of the future.
The colonel, who grew up in a three-decker on Vernon Hill, graduated from Framingham State College and Westfield State College and joined the state police more than 30 years ago, told graduates to find their calling. "I believe we all have a calling in life."
Col. McGovern was the keynote speaker at Worcester State's 134th commencement. Thousands of family members and friends packed the DCU Center to cheer on 840 undergraduates and 228 graduate students who received degrees.
Although Col. McGovern didn't attend Worcester State, she recalled visiting friends there many years ago and said, "Don't let this uniform fool you ... I had a good time in my day."
Col. McGovern received an honorary degree at the ceremony. Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell, commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense - a Worcester State alumnus - also received an honorary degree.
Mark F. Gawlak, president of the senior class, said he never expected he would graduate from Worcester State when he started his first semester of college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Some of his classmates needed five or six years to get their degrees.
The point, he said, is "don't worry things in the end won't work out the way you thought they would."
Along with the celebration yesterday, there were a few somber moments, as graduates and members of the audience remembered Vanessa A. Dunn of Millbury. Ms. Dunn would have graduated yesterday with a degree in criminal justice, but the 23-year-old was killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve. The college remembered Ms. Dunn by placing a white rose in the chair where she would have sat.
Also addressing the graduates were college president Janelle C. Ashley, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, and state Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester.
The graduates are:
Bachelor of Arts
Auburn: Samuel A. Bowler, Danielle Lynn Duval, Ashley Christine Sullivan
Barre: Christopher Michael Hanks, Lori A. Stokes (M)
Brookfield: Ashleigh Margaret vanGerven
Charlton: Cynthia M. Barnes
Clinton: Jeremiah James Clark
Douglas: Christopher F. Menn
Gardner: James Douglas Hotaling
Gilbertville: Matthew Meredith Hollis (M)
Grafton: Hollie Ann Taylor
Holden: Jessica Elizabeth Cutroni (C), Matthew Joseph DeCiero, Jasmine M. Elmi, Ellen Marie Sikonski, Ilyse Nicole Sugar, Brian Joseph Taylor
Hubbardston: Ashley Marion Griffin
Hudson: Michael Chukwuma Ajuonuma, Kathryn Anne Devane
Leicester: Danielle Marie Cormier, Jon William Dyson, Jr.
Leominster: Lindsay Marie Dellechiaie, Golda Guella (M)
Marlboro: Patrick James Brien, Matthew Robert Brown
Mendon: Jaclyn Holly Glover (S)
Millbury: Nancy Adriana Calvera, Steven Lee Smyth (S)
North Brookfield: Amanda Louise Daly, Andrew Lawrence Forgit
Northboro: Jason Paul Lessard, Rebecca Ann Swasey
Northbridge: Paraskevi C. Berdos, Mark F. Gawlak
Oxford: Hayley Colange Stefan (S)
Paxton: Sarah Julie Pulsifer
Princeton: Jonathan A. Kelly
Rochdale: Kimberly A. Hescock (C)
Rutland: James D. Keller, Derrick Raymond Leroux
Shrewsbury: Benjamin Mayout Boi, Derek E. Karlgren, Meghann Kathleen McNally, Danielle Alyse Peters (C)
Southbridge: Kaysie Lynn Berthiaume, Melissa Ann Recore
Spencer: Scott Patrick Booker, William Ronald Hodgerney
Sterling: Cheryl A. St.Pierre, Cherise Heather Wheeler
Sutton: Dineen Eleanor Gosselin
Townsend: Andre Maurice Pare (C)
Upton: Francine Louise Farley (C)
Uxbridge: Jacquelyn Christine Lynch
Webster: Richard J. Cameron Jr.
West Boylston: James Edward Leonardi
West Brookfield: Bryan Scott Griffing (S), Gina M. Lavallee, Alyson Michelle Weeks
Westboro: Michael John Orfao
Whitinsville: Benjamin Jonathan Guilfoil
Worcester: Carol Jonae Adade, Kojo Akofa Aggor, Douglas C. Anderson, Robert Andrew Bilotta, Sarah A. Bonito, Martin J. Boros, Josiah Kingsley Burden (C), Agust Jon Calabro, April Theresa Carlile, Patrick Ryan Donahue, Thomas Anthony Egan, Stevens Excellent, Jessica D. Glasier, Renee Christianne Henry, Emily Louise Hine, Wilson Wahome Kiriungi (M), Megan E. Montgomery, Casey Anne Murphy, Daniel F. Nanni, Brandon P. Olivia (C), Aris J. Ortega, Theodoros Andreas Panagiotopoulos, Joelle Angela Panarelli, Ernesto Jose Paulino, Tiffany T. Punch (M), Amanda J. Radesky (M), Miriam Rivera, Robert Thomas Roddy, Michael S. Ryan, Jeremy M. Schwerdt, Andrew M. Sebring, Linah B. Shayo, Danielle Lynne St. Amand, Jason Michael St. Amand, Adam Nathan Swidler, David Thomas Taberner, Jessica Rita Telemaque, Rossella Maria Trafecante, Danielle F. Wise, Crystal L. Woods, Matthew Kevin Wright, Albana Xhemollari
Bachelor of Science
Ashburnham: Ariana Mary LeBlanc (M)
Ashby: Katrina Marie Creighton
Athol: Susan Jean Dodge, Laura Kaczmarczyk, Erin Leigh Martioski, Alyssa...