News and Events
Dean College Graduates 297 and Announces New Baccalaureate DegreesMay 10, 2010
Franklin, MA – May 8, 2010 – Dean College held its 144th Commencement today at 11 a.m., graduating 297 students. President of the College, Paula M. Rooney, Ed.D., spoke to the crowd of nearly 1,500 at the ceremony held on Grant Field.
President Rooney announced to the crowd that Dean had received approval from the Board of Higher Education earlier this week to offer three new Baccalaureate Degree Programs.
“Just as you are beginning a new phase in your life, Dean College is entering a new phase as well. Students may now enroll in three new programs,” said Dr. Rooney. “We are offering a Bachelor of Science in Business, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, in addition to our other two bachelor programs in Dance and Arts and Entertainment Management.”
She praised the students for their hard work, determination and creativity.
“Ultimately, college is not only about getting a diploma to hang on your wall. It’s not even about subject knowledge learned in a classroom or lecture hall or laboratory, although that is important. It is about acquiring the qualities of an educated person: the ability to communicate effectively whether that is with the written or oral word, or through dance or some other form of expression,” said Dr. Rooney. “It is the ability to think critically and independently, to reason and solve problems, to work in teams and, in some cases, to lead.
“You may forget many of the details of what you have learned in college,” Dr. Rooney said to the graduating students. “But the point is that you have learned to be a learner. And that is something you will carry with you for the rest of your lives, if you continue to exercise it. The ability to learn and adapt throughout a lifetime is lasting and indispensible, especially in a world that is changing as fast as ours is.”
Mike Jones, Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees encouraged the graduates to savor the moment with their families. “You have reached a major milestone in your lives and are part of a small group of men and women worldwide – only about three in one hundred – who have graduated from college.”
Two local students were featured speakers at the ceremony. Chris O’Reilly from Upton, MA received his Associate Degree in Theatre Performance. O’Reilly has been involved in a number of Dean theatre and dance productions both as a performer and working technically behind the scenes. He received numerous awards as a student and will pursue continued studies in Theatre.
O’Reilly talked about the conflict he experienced as he pursued a major he was passionate about rather than one others thought was ‘practical.’ “Whether you go to school for Theatre, Dance, Singing, Business, Psychology, Math, or any other subject, I firmly believe that if you have enough passion for something, then practicality just doesn’t have to matter anymore,” he said. “If you pursue something with all of the passion you possess, for that one specific thing, you can-No, you WILL become the best at it. Then you don’t need this Practical plan anymore. “
The young graduate also had advice for underclassmen and thanks for the Dean Faculty. “Don’t let people sway you from anything and just try to constantly better yourself. Because you have a vast amount of willing faculty members here that would drop anything to help you, and the ones that I have had the pleasure of working with, Thank you. For everything,” he said. “ I wouldn’t be up here right now if it wasn’t for you guys. You’ve pushed me to heights I never thought I’d reach, and I’m not stopping there. According to Jim Rohn, ‘We can have more than we’ve got, because we can become more than we are,’ and I’m sure all of you WILL become more than you are.”
Karisa Ford is from Franklin, MA. Ms. Ford received a Baccalaureate degree in Arts and Entertainment Management. She is a member of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa and has received numerous awards as a student. She looks forward to working in the art and entertainment world. She is the mother of two children – a daughter 4 ½ and a son who is 2.
“I am often asked “What is an Arts Management Degree?” I usually respond that it is a Business Degree with a focus in creativity. Then the questioner looks at me with a tilted expression and scratches their head. Why would we need creative Business professionals? How is someone whose motivation is to save the arts, going to save the economy? Well that would take four years of college to explain; so I will simplify my answer,” she explained.
“Numerically speaking for every dollar invested into an arts organization, $3-$7 is then directed back into the economy. You buying a coffee and scone after Dean’s Dance Company performance, stimulates the economy. Paying for parking when attending a Theater production in Boston, helps rebuild the market. Taking the train to visit an art museum creates greater employment opportunities.”
Ms. Ford went on to talk about creativity, perception and insight. “Folks might be surprised to hear that Dean College students are learning about business by taking Blues History and Theater. But Dean has taken that risk, confident that at the end of two years or four years the value of such contrary exploration will be obvious.”
Massachusetts State Representative James Vallee received the College’s Cameron S. Thompson Award. Rep. Vallee was recognized for his service to the Commonwealth as an eight-term representative from the 10th Norfolk District. He was appointed this year as the House Majority Leader and has served as Assistant Vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In his leadership role, Jim outlines the annual state budget and reviews all legislation involving state funds. He also served as the House Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee where he successfully passed stricter drunk driving laws and penalties for sex offenders. He currently serves as a member of the Elder Affairs Caucus, the Metro-West Caucus, the Children’s Caucus and the Charles River Legislative Caucus and is a member of the American Legion. He is also being recognized for his service to the country. Vallee is currently a Lt. Colonel and JAG Officer in the Army National Guard. He recently (last month) received the U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his service to the nation and his continuous volunteer work from the community.
Norfolk resident Jay Leiendecker received the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service, loyalty and dedication to Dean College. Leiendecker has served as Vice President for Enrollment Services at Dean College since 1997. He retired this year. As Vice President, Jay was responsible for student enrollment and worked with students, parents and the counseling community on student financial services, part-time studies, public relations, communications and marketing. During his 37-year career in higher education, admission and financial aid, he also served on the Boards of the Massachusetts School Counselor Association, the Franklin Rotary Club and the United Chamber of Commerce.
Two faculty members were also recognized for excellence in teaching. Vic Michaels, Associate Professor of Communications, and Kristine Perlmutter, part-time faculty in English received recognition for their dedication to education and commitment to their students at Dean.
Dean awarded 297 degrees – 263 associate degrees and 35 bachelor degrees in Dance and Arts and Entertainment Management.
Founded in 1865 by Tufts University Universalist Church as a feeder academy, Dean College is located in Franklin Massachusetts, 45 minutes from both Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. The College offers 15 Associate Degree programs and 5 Baccalaureate Degree programs including Business, Dance, Arts and Entertainment Management, Liberal Arts and Studies and Theatre. Currently, 1,000 full-time students and 500 part-time students are enrolled at Dean, the majority of whom reside on Dean’s 100-acre campus. Dean provides some form of financial assistance to nearly all students. Approximately 98 percent of Dean students who graduate with an associate degree are accepted for transfer to a four-year college.