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University of Saint Joseph Celebrates 86th Commencement

USJ Commencement. Courtesy photo

Over the course of several days, the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford held in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021.

USJ Commencement. Courtesy photo

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From Tuesday, May 11 through Sunday, May 16, 2021, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) held a series of 86th commencement ceremonies on its campus in West Hartford, CT.

Provost Michelle Kalis, Ph.D., welcomed family and friends gathered in the audience as the University awarded 203 bachelor’s degrees, 523 master’s degrees, and 81 doctoral degrees. Kalis remarked, “The entire USJ community is so proud of the accomplishments of our bachelor, master, and doctoral degree recipients. Many have already provided meaningful service to the community during the pandemic and we all look forward to their ongoing contributions to their professions and the community.”

Undergraduate speaker Hanna Pryhazhayeva ’21, who earned her degree in English, focused her remarks on how some of life’s proudest moments come from overcoming daunting tasks. She said, “For me this was applying to college as an adult, in a foreign country, all while being the first in my family to pursue a college degree. I had to overcome doubt, fear of failure, take the leap of faith, and follow my curiosity.”

Commencement speaker and the 2021 Honorary Degree recipient Margaret Williamson congratulated the graduates and offered some sage guidance about nurturing an important trait in life, resilience. She shared why it’s meaningful, “A positive outlook, belief in yourself, and the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties will help you to have a happy and productive life.”

Closing out each ceremony, President Rhona Free, Ph.D., reflected on the achievements of the graduates especially in the last year, “Earning a degree is always an accomplishment but earning one this year is truly exceptional. You have shown tremendous flexibility and determination. Your degree signifies that you have developed skills and gained knowledge, that you are smart and self-motivated, that you possess creativity and persistence. But as a graduate of the University of Saint Joseph, your degree conveys even more. A USJ degree is imbued with our Core Values and the “critical concerns” that are the focal points for the Sisters of Mercy.”

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

To watch a graduation ceremony, visit our Commencement webpage.

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