Dean College bronze Bulldog

Dean College held its 156th Commencement Exercises honoring the Class of 2022 on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the Dean College campus in Franklin, MA.

Approximately 288 graduates representing 20 states and seven countries received their degrees, with many family members and friends in attendance. The ceremony was held outside on the front lawn of Dean Hall, along Awpie Way, with livestream options for those unable to attend.

The keynote address was provided by Dean College President, Dr. Paula M. Rooney, who reflected on how Dean College is a home away from home for all members of the Dean community. She explained that this community is a family that graduates will always be part of as they go forward into the world.

“As you leave today, know that now is your time to think about what lies ahead,” Dr. Rooney said. “You are free to think about your future and begin to wonder about all the possibilities. You have a foundation and you have wings. Use your wings to leave your mark on the world.”

As graduates choose their next steps, Dr. Rooney advised them to “Take risks. Be your own advocate and create opportunities where others can’t see them. Use your imagination and be willing to look beyond today to create the landing spot of your tomorrow.”

Additional remarks were presented by Mark D. Boyce, Chairman of the Dean College Board of Trustees. Boyce shared reflections on the power of belief and quoted a number of pop culture figures, including Dolly Parton, Spiderman and Ted Lasso. “Do you remember what the word is above the door to Ted Lasso’s office? It’s ‘believe,’” he said. “Because as Ted says, success is not about wins and losses. It’s about helping the young fellows be the best versions of themselves on and off the field. Ted believes in people, he believes in hope, he believes in belief. You should too. As you join the ranks of Dean alumni, your Dean family will always be here to support you. Remember, you too could be an influencer. You can make a difference in this world – a Dean Difference – because you never know where life leads you.”

Representing the Class of 2022 was student speaker Jimmy Munro, a Sport Management major from East Providence, Rhode Island.

A first-generation college student, Munro has been actively involved in a number of campus activities and leadership positions, including three years as a New Student Orientation leader. He has also held roles as a community advisor, Phonathon supervisor, softball team manager and Recreational and Intramural Department intern, as well as a member of the baseball team. Additionally, Munro was named to the Dean’s List on three occasions.

Munro spoke about the impact of the past four years and the significance of the number two for the graduating class. “It is crazy to think about how fast the past four years went by, and how much the world around us has changed,” he said. “We have been through two presidencies, two Boston sport championships, two years of COVID, and to top it all off, we are the Class of ’22. There’s something about them twos.” These experiences not only prepared the Class of 2022 to handle adversity in the real world, he explained, but also shaped each one of them – and Dean as a whole.

“You won’t know exactly when it happens – maybe it will be today, tomorrow, or maybe it has already happened – when you look back at your time here at Dean, you will find that you have transformed this college as much as it has transformed you,” Munro concluded. “And it won’t be only Dean College that you transform. No matter where you go next, you have the potential to transform the world.”

Members of the Dean College Class of 1970 were also in attendance for a special presentation. In 1970, the Commencement Ceremony was canceled due to anti-war protests happening on college campuses across the country, and in 2020, their 50th reunion was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-two years later, the Class of 1970 was finally able to walk across the stage and receive honorary scrolls, as well as being inducted into the 50th Society along with members of the classes of 1971 and 1972.

Additional honors were conferred to both Dr. Paula M. Rooney and Dr. P. Gerard Shaw, Dean of the Dean R. Sanders ’47 School of Business, who were named honorary alumni for nearly three decades of outstanding service, loyalty and dedication to Dean College. The Board of Trustees also introduced the Dr. Paula M. Rooney Dean Difference Award, which will be made from time to time to a deserving faculty, staff, student, alumnus/a, or other community member that embodies The Dean Difference by having made significant contributions to Dean College and its mission. The inaugural Dr. Paula M. Rooney Dean Difference Award was presented to Dr. Rooney in recognition of her 27 years as Dean College President.

Learn more about Dean College Commencement.