FAIRFIELD, Conn.— More than 2,000 Sacred Heart University students received diplomas and words of advice and motivation from religious leaders, scholars and classmates at graduation ceremonies.
President John J. Petillo addressed undergraduate students Sunday. Petillo told the students to always ask why and to “be uncomfortable so that as you think critically and analytically you may grow in knowledge and faith.”
Petillo ended his speech with, “Don’t try to always be normal, because you will never know how amazing you can be. Chase, reach, stretch for your dreams and hopes. Isn’t that what Pioneers do?”
The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, delivered the keynote address to the undergraduates. He also received an honorary doctor of theology degree at the ceremony at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Theresa “T” Fletcher, class of 2017 president, took her peers down memory lane as she reflected upon their time on the SHU campus in Fairfield.
“In the classroom, we were challenged in not only our subject matter, but our professors also made us think outside the box. They taught us how to think for ourselves, push ourselves and achieve things that we never thought we could. They taught us to be Pioneers and pave our own path through life.”
At the end of her speech, Fletcher wished her peers nothing but happiness and success. “I am proud to call myself a Pioneer for life.”
Spencer Kelly, of Shelton, received his bachelor’s degree in finance. Before the ceremony began he waited outside the arena with his brother and girlfriend. “It was a good experience,” Kelly said of the past four years. “I’m ready to be done and start working,” said Kelly, who landed a job at Cartus in Danbury.
Saturday’s festivities were all about the University’s graduate students.
Graduate student Hajrah Kashmiri, who received a master of arts in teaching degree, represented her class and shared her story and enthusiasm for the next step in her life with the crowd.
“I was born in Pakistan but pretty much raised in the U.S. However, just last year, on November 4th, I received my citizenship through the naturalization process. I am happy to say that after 16 years of living in the U.S., I’m finally an American,” Kashmiri said.