Three hundred and thirty-one students received degrees at Mansfield University’s 146th Commencement on Saturday, December18 in Decker Gymnasium.
Before presenting the graduates with their diplomas, President Maravene Loeschke, told them, “As exciting as it is to get this degree today, it is just another step in your educational journey. Whether you pursue further courses and degrees or whether you choose to self-educate with your intellectual curiosity, this milestone is the beginning of a life-long learning journey. It has to be or success will escape you.”
D. Keith Palmer, a 1996 MU graduate, was the speaker. Palmer is U.S. marketing director for Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company. After graduating from Mansfield he served in the Marines, reaching the rank of Captain, and has gone on to earn two Master’s degrees.
“I have often referred to my Mansfield University experience as an epiphany.” Palmer said. “My time at Mansfield was an evolution of knowing who I want to be and ultimately, who I am.”
After recounting his time and Mansfield and what it means to him, and thanking those who helped him in his journey, Palmer left the graduates with what he called “three take aways.”
“First, discipline yourself to have a first rate mind,” Palmer said. He explained that a first rate mind is always thinking.
“Second, you can leave Mansfield with much knowledge. It is not definitive or absolute unless you apply yourself. When you do leave Mansfield, be intelligent individuals. There is a difference between knowledge and intelligence. Intelligence is equal to knowledge plus character.”
“Lastly, I am where I am in life, because of God, the support of others, intestinal fortitude and the 3 D’s-dedication, determination and discipline. Prepare your mind and your body. You are not guaranteed success as a result of preparation, but your guaranteed failure if you are not prepared. Start thinking now, about the person you want to be for the rest of your life, and honor God.”
Also at the ceremony, Pennsylvania State Representative Matt Baker was presented with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
In making the presentation, President Loeschke recounted Baker’s service to the region, the state and MU. “Often we think of legislators as politicians who are not in touch with real needs,” she said. “Matt Baker lives to serve the needs of others. He leads with head and heart, body and soul, logic and support.”
Annie Cooper, who recently retired as Director of Multicultural Affairs, was presented with the first-ever Diversity Ally Award. The award is presented to an individual who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to diversity and cultural awareness and who celebrates individuality and uniqueness.
Also during Commencement, Vice-Chair Dr. Robert Strohecker spoke on behalf of the Council of Trustees, John Quashnoc ’70, president of the Alumni Association, gave the alumni greeting and President William Brown represented the Student Government Association.