2014 Commencement and Baccalaureate Ceremonies at Manhattanville College

Concluding Senior Week, Commencement and Baccalaureate ceremonies took place last weekend on the Manhattanville campus. For newly graduated students, these special occasions not only celebrate their academic successes at the College but also mark a poignant transition in their professional and personal lives.


The Graduate and Doctoral Commencement began at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 15th. John C. Shaw ’80, IBM Vice President of Finance for the Western United States, was the speaker for the ceremony. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from President Strauss. From his own experience, Shaw shared the four important lessons that he has learned over the years in corporate finance, namely Listen, Lead, Learn and Love.


John C. Shaw `80 sharing his experiences in corporate finance at the ceremony.

“I’d assure you that in spite of everything you’ve done to make it here today and all the plans you have for the future, you will face challenges in life both professionally and personally,” Shaw said. “So resolve now to love what you do, learn from your challenges and your mistakes, keep up those professional relationships and reach out to others.”

The Baccalaureate and Honors Convocation was held on Friday, May 16th in the O’Byrne Chapel and also featured a Manhattanville graduate. Laura G. Santucci `03, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Chief of Staff, was the speaker at the event honoring graduating seniors for their exceptional academic achievements. Citing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female and current president of Liberia, who famously said, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” Santucci emphasized the importance of being out of the comfort zone in one’s career.


Laura G. Santucci ’03 offering valuable advice to honorees at the convocation.

“I think about the last ten years and all the doors that I walked through, the first door being the door of Manhattanville College,” Santucci said. “And I think back to that job, that description. ‘Tight rope walker, no net.’ That intimidated me. Many of those doors intimidated me. But I went there anyway, not in spite of the fear but because of it. I would encourage all of you to do the same thing.  Think about the person you want to be, the goals you want to achieve and the doors you want to walk through.”

Santucci’s sentiment was echoed by Gregory Rae, Tony Award winning producer, in his speech as the keynote speaker of the Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 17th.


Gregory Rae speaking at the Undergraduate Commencement.

“Nobody ever accomplishes anything great by playing it safe,” Rae said. “And you’ve got fewer obligations now than you will in the future. Obligations and responsibilities have a way of piling up as time goes on, so take some risks before you have more of them…You make decisions based on what you know right now.”

During the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, President Jon C. Strauss awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees to Robert C. Hall, chairman of Manhattanville’s Board of Trustees, Gregory Rae, and Laura G. Santucci `03. A posthumous Honorary Doctorate was awarded to the famous comedian Rodney Dangerfield. President Strauss also announced the establishment of the Rodney Dangerfield Institute for the Study of Comedy at Manhattanville College.


Manhattanville graduates after the ceremony.

The beautiful weather on Saturday served as the perfect backdrop for family celebrations on campus after the ceremony. For many of these new Manhattanville alumni, it might be a long time before they will be able to visit their alma mater again after spending the past four years nurturing their academic and personal growth. Let us know in the comment section if photos from the weekend remind you of your own Commencement!

Please click below for pictures from the Graduate and Doctoral Commencement.

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Please click below for pictures from the Baccalaureate and Honors Convocation.

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Please click below for pictures from the Undergraduate Commencement.

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