News & Media

May 13, 2013

Emmanuel Celebrates Graduates, Honorees at 91st Commencement

Emmanuel celebrated its 91st Commencement Exercises on the College's campus on May 11th, conferring 561 degrees to bachelor's and master's candidates. Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center (BMC) delivered the Commencement Address and received an honorary degree.

Emmanuel celebrated its 91st Commencement Exercises on the College's campus on May 11th, conferring 561 degrees to bachelor's and master's candidates. Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center (BMC) delivered the Commencement Address and received an honorary degree. The College also honored Milagros "Milly" Arbaje-Thomas, Deputy Director of Field Operations for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and the director of ABCD service centers in Parker Hill/Fenway, Mattapan and Jamaica Plain, and Michael F. Collins, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts and Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Medical School.

To view a photo gallery of Emmanuel's 2013 Commencement, click here.

Juliette Toulon, who received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Emmanuel's Graduate Studies + Nursing program, and Morgan Armitage, who received a Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication, Media and Cultural Studies, were chosen as this year's student speakers. The well-known Emmanuel hallmark, "This is your place," was clearly on their minds as they offered advice for the future, while encouraging their fellow graduates not to forget the place they once called home.

Toulon urged the Class of 2013 to "be ever-present in what you choose to do and do what you love," while Armitage reminded students, "You can and you will go anywhere, but you can always come back to the home we've built here."

In addressing the graduates, College President Sister Janet Eisner, SND echoed these sentiments, not only imploring students to live their lives "joyfully and with purpose," but to embrace their status as Emmanuel alumni.

"Wherever you go in life, and you will go far, you can always come home to Emmanuel," Sr. Janet said.

In her Commencement Address, Walsh spoke briefly of the recent Boston Marathon bombings, noting that while the world was watching when Boston Medical Center cared for nearly two dozen of the injured bystanders, the BMC is committed to providing the best possible care "every day, every week, every month of every year--when no one is watching." She advised graduates to do the same in their own lives.

"Be the best version of yourself; work really hard, especially when no one is watching.

"Be kind, care about what you do and have fun," Walsh said. "Build your career like you build your life--out of the details comes something very special."

Since joining the BMC in 2010, Walsh has led the not-for-profit medical center through a financial turnaround, ensuring the long-range stability of vital clinical care and medical education programs. Previously, she served for five years as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Brigham and Women's Hospital. Under her leadership, Brigham and Women's moved its patient satisfaction scores into the 95th percentile of benchmark institutions nationally, produced strong operation results based on consistent ambulatory and impatient growth and set a new standard in patient-focused multidisciplinary care with the opening of the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.

Arbaje-Thomas received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the Commencement Exercises. Since becoming director of ABCD's Parker Hill/Fenway site in 1999, Arbaje-Thomas has tripled programming, staffing and funding to meet the needs of an evolving, growing and diverse community. Through the ABCD system, she has facilitated technical advancements and the development of an in-depth case management system, as well as successful partnerships with area medical and educational institutions, including Emmanuel College, which offers a summer service fellowship in conjunction with ABCD.

In her citation, read by Assistant Professor of Sociology and Department Chair Catherine Simpson Bueker, Arbaje-Thomas was praised as a "a warm spirit and ready mentor-a woman as remarkable for her professional achievements as for her profound kindness."

Dr. Collins was also honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his role in overseeing the UMass system's health and life sciences portfolio and UMass's medical school, which enrolls more than 1,100 students at three schools. As Chancellor since 2007, Dr. Collins has provided strong strategic growth in the Commonwealth's public medical school, resulting in the transformation of the campus's infrastructure and the design of an innovative curriculum. Previously, he served as Chancellor of UMass Boston, whose student body of 14,000 is the most diverse in New England.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Aren Gerdon was on hand to read Collins's citation, honoring his commitment to the medical field and education.

"In addition to making formidable contributions to public health, you have been a source of professional and personal guidance to a generation of students and younger colleagues," Gerdon said. "They speak often of how you took a heartfelt interest in them, inspired them to succeed and were there for them not once, but for life."

Two members of the Emmanuel College faculty were also recognized during the ceremony: Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Jarvinen and Academic Advisor Sr. Mary Kelleher, SND. Jarvinen was honored with the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award while Sr. Mary was recognized upon her retirement for her many contributions to the College during a career thats panned more than 40 years.