- by Mount Saint Mary College
Three Mount grads jumping and throwing their caps in the air

Coming through the storm

MSMC grad smiling after receiving diploma

Things weren’t easy for the Class of 2022. From navigating online courses to living and learning six feet away from their classmates, these students faced challenges they couldn’t possibly have anticipated when they started their college journey in 2018. Through it all, they persevered. 

Their well-earned reward, on Saturday, May 21, was the first traditional Commencement ceremony the Mount has been able to host since 2019. 

Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the college, congratulated the faculty, parents, and graduates on a job well done.

“To use an old adage, the Devil whispered in your ear and said, ‘You’re not going to make it through the storm,’” he said to his inaugural class. “And you rose up and you yelled back with balled fists, ‘I am
the storm!’”   

Commencement speaker Cabrera Bell '01
Karina Cabrera Bell '01 Commencement speaker

The graduating students then heard from honorary degree recipient and Commencement speaker Karina Cabrera Bell ’01, a Fortune 500 executive and former official in the Obama White House.

Cabrera Bell currently serves as Senior Manager within the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equality (ID&E) Practice at Accenture, a multinational professional services company that specializes in information technology services and consulting. In this role, she advises Fortune 500 clients in ID&E, talent strategies, cultural transformation, and responsible business practices.

Before moving to the private sector, Cabrera Bell served in many levels of government in her 15-year career in public service. At the Obama White House, she was director of Congressional Affairs, forging partnerships with Congress and national advocacy groups to recruit top talent. 

"We live in a hard time with lots of problems. I know there is a temptation to tune it out. But I ask you to do the opposite, to engage, to rise up and leave the world better than you found it.” Karina Cabrera Ball '01

Cabrera Bell praised the graduates for their ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles while remaining upbeat and focused on their studies: “This generation of Knights has gone through something that no other classes have before,” she said. “Yet, through it all, you have shown incredible resilience and strength.”

Reflecting on her own time at the college, Cabrera Bell said, “The Mount changed so much for me. It’s where I started an entirely new path for my life. It’s where Professor Irene Nunnari told me I had a voice…It’s where I learned that if I wanted to change things, I had to be vulnerable and put myself in the arena.”

Finally, she encouraged the students to take what they have learned at the Mount and use it to make the world a better place.

“We live in a hard time with lots of problems,” Cabrera Bell said. “I know there is a temptation to tune it out. But I ask you to do the opposite, to engage, to rise up and leave the world better than you found it. Be the spark in your circle, in your job, and in your community. If you see someone getting bullied or mistreated, be the spark that stands up for them. If you see a cause that needs a voice, be the spark that speaks up for it.”

Baccalaureate Mass at the Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary
Baccalaureate Mass at the Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary

Julia Lavin, Senior Class president, congratulated the Class of 2022 for not only enduring the hardships of COVID-19, but for also thriving throughout the pandemic. 

“Even though we have not had the most conventional college experience, thanks to our wonderful professors and administrators who care so deeply about their students, there is not a doubt in my mind that we are prepared to handle anything that gets thrown at us along the way,” she said. “We are all leaving more resilient and capable people than when we arrived here.”

In his speech to his fellow graduates, Cullen Roper, vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, reminded students of the need for unity. 

“We are all living proof that alone we can accomplish many things, but with the help of others, we can accomplish anything,” he said. “To be a college graduate is one success of its own, but to become a welcoming and caring human being will propel us into the next chapter of our lives. I am proud to be here in front of you all today and proud to be a Mount Saint Mary College graduate.”

By the numbers

Total degrees awarded: More than 500
Master's degrees awarded:
More than 120
Bachelor's degrees awarded:
More than 380
Grads hailed from 11 states: 
California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. One grad lives in Nigeria.

Two awards were given to Mount professors during the ceremony. Joshua Laskowski, president of the Mount’s Student Government Association (SGA), presented the SGA’s Excellence in Teaching Award to Jennifer Bready, professor of Mathematics. The award recognizes a full-time professor that the students believe goes above and beyond in their role as a professor and in their commitment to student success.

Fr. Gregoire Fluet in the Commencement procession
Fr. Gregoire Fluet seen in the Commencement procession here, was the recipient of the College Faculty Award in recognition of his service to the Mount community. 

Anne Ferrari, associate professor of Psychology and Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, presented the Mount Saint Mary College Faculty Award to Fr. Gregoire Fluet, college chaplain and director of Campus Ministry. Ferrari praised Fr. Fluet’s dedication, integrity, and service to the college, as well as his unwavering support for everyone in the Mount community – especially students.

Click here to view the Commencement Flickr gallery. 

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