May 17, 2022
Emmanuel College Celebrates Historic 100th Commencement and Honors President Sr. Janet Eisner, SNDdeN

On May 14th, Emmanuel College celebrated a milestone 100th Commencement, conferring more than 500 degrees on its bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates.

 The College also bestowed honorary degrees upon Dr. Maura Hagan ’75, a nationally recognized space physicist, and Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN, in honor of her historic 43-year tenure as President of the College. Sr. Janet was also formally named President Emerita. 

Student speakers at the ceremony included Laurie Rotondo MSN ’22, representing Graduate & Professional Programs, and Madeleine Johnson ’22 representing undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. 

Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Anupama Seshan read the honorary degree citation for Dr. Hagan saying, “Dr. Maura Hagan, you have earned a place among America’s most esteemed scientists, both for your pioneering contributions to space physics and for your commitment to a culture of collaboration, inclusion and empowerment in some of the nation’s top research institutions. 

“In a special way, you have cultivated a climate of opportunity and welcome for women in science and for colleagues from diverse backgrounds, while helping a host of young scientists to achieve their highest professional aspirations. Maura, your story gives superb expression to Emmanuel’s values of academic excellence and service to others. 

Reading the citation for Sr. Janet, Senior Vice President and Treasurer Sr. Anne Mary Donovan, SNDdeN, reflected, “In four-plus decades you have provided a master class in leadership that has been praised throughout American higher education, as well as by prominent figures in government, business and the Church. 

“Sister Janet, in a word, you are Emmanuel. What is more, you are a living sign that Emmanuel, our God with us, continues to work in and through the mission, values and people of this College. For your grand and historic presidency, and for the moving example of your faith-filled life, Emmanuel College today is profoundly honored to confer on you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa.”  

Sister Janet then addressed the graduates, encouraging them to enter this new chapter of their lives with fondness for the memories and lessons they learned during their time at Emmanuel. She remarked, “What advice can I give you? Let me frame it this way. In 2018, you came here to be in Boston, be inspired and be in demand. Each of these “Be-s” you have fulfilled brilliantly. Today, and for the rest of your lives, I urge you to embrace three additional “Be-s”. Be together, be compassionate and be bold.”  

Later she reflected, “I mentioned earlier that I remember so much about my decades-long Emmanuel journey. After I leave the presidency, I hope to take time to write down some of those stories. The experiences I have had here are a source of indescribable joy for me. Not only the visible successes, but also the faces, the personalities, the laughter, and the moments of worship and quiet prayer in the Chapel. Above all, it has been the privilege of my life to watch generations of promising young people like you grow in maturity, ability, conscience and commitment. It is days like today when I rejoice in my vocation and proclaim, with St. Julie, that education is indeed ‘the greatest work on earth.’” 

Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Thomas J. Hynes then officially bestowed the title of President Emerita upon Sr. Janet. 

The day before Commencement, the campus welcomed graduates of the Class of 2022 and their families for Baccalaureate Mass. Along with readings and music of hope and prayers for the graduating class, Molly Keane ‘22 gave a reflection of the class’s time at Emmanuel. “I couldn’t help but think about how waving ‘hello’ became a part of my daily routine on Emmanuel's campus,” she said. “For so many of us, waving our hands fostered our first connections at Emmanuel, and for so many, it will be the last thing we do to say goodbye.” Keane encouraged her classmates, “Emmanuel College will always be Emmanuel College, and the small details will probably fade from our minds, but try your very best to hold onto the feelings of being an Emmanuel College student.” 

Longtime Emmanuel College President Sr. Janet Eisner, SNDdeN (front row, second from right) received an honorary degree and was formally named President Emerita at the College's 100th Commencement Exercises

Emmanuel's 100th Commencement: May 14, 2022

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