University News

Western New England University Celebrates 2022 Graduates

Published: May 24, 2022 | Categories: All News

President Johnson urges students to 'leave the world better than you found it!'

President Johnson speaking to the class of 2022.

Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures that greeted guests on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, Western New England University graduates and their families filled the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center in a two-day celebration during the class of 2022 Commencement Ceremonies.

"We have come together today to celebrate the hard work and success of the Class of 2022," exclaimed President Robert E. Johnson. "Your hard work and dedication over the last four years exemplifies your strength, your courage, and your character." He was, of course, referring to the resiliency and toughness demonstrated in the midst of the pandemic. "You are the essence of possessing an agile mindset with the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn," he added.

On Saturday, the Undergraduate Ceremony keynote speaker, professional mixed martial artist Nick Newell ('08), talked about the power of dedication. "To be great, you must be willing to do things others will not so you can achieve things that others can't." Newell, who was born without a left hand and part of his left arm, went on to tell the class of 2022 that they have already proven that they "have what it takes" by the very fact that they are here today. "You have faced adversity unlike any other graduating class before you, and while others would have walked away, you stayed. You never quit. You stayed consistent through many hard times and lost opportunities. You took a look at your goals for the future and decided to chase them. Much like my journey, you did not let speed bumps become road blocks, and for that, you are standing before us all as the graduating class of 2022."

Sunday's Graduate Ceremony featured keynote speaker Sheila Barcohana Hollender (L'80), a leading authority on women's issues, environmental health, and sustainability. She reminded students that "Life is a journey; there's no way to anticipate its twists and turns, as well as its ups and downs. All you can do is enjoy the ride. The unexpected will happen, and when it does, greet it with open arms. Just because you have a graduate degree in hand today and have a professional life planned out, don't hesitate to pivot away from what you know. The world is changing at a rapid pace—nothing is stagnant. The best advice I can give you today is to be ready to take on the challenges of the future. You can do it because you already have the tools in hand."

Dr. Johnson conferred degrees to the class of 2022 challenging the graduates to "go out and transform the world, touch someone's life, live your dream, and most importantly, leave the world better than you found it."

View the 2022 ceremonies in their entirety at  Undergraduate Commencement, Graduate Commencement.