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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

MCLA Awards 342 Degrees At 2005 Commencement

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, May 29, 2005

The 2005 MCLA commencement brought generations together in celebration.
View Slide Show
North Adams – Smiles, tears, cheers, and laughter punctuated the May 28 Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 2005 graduation ceremony and a rare, extended visit from the sun enhanced the glory of the day.

Savor the Success

College President Mary K. Grant presented bachelor and master degrees to 342 graduates and effectively launched tassel-turning transitions from college students to MCLA alumni in a matter of minutes.


A profile of success.
Grant urged the Class of 2005 to put concerns about the future to rest for the day and savor their success.

“You have worked hard to get to this day,” she said during the commencement greeting. “I hope that you will really take the time to recognize what you have accomplished and that you truly know how very proud your family members and friends are of you. The faculty and staff who have had the pleasure of working with you during your time at MCLA are grateful for the experiences you have shared and confident of your future. This morning the energy and happiness is palpable. Enjoy it, savor it, and celebrate your success.”

The Past and the Future

Speaking prior to the ceremony, numerous students reminisced about their MCLA days and spoke excitedly about post-graduation plans.

Twin brothers Kevin and David Cusson of Pittsfield not only share a strong physical resemblance but also majored in computer science.

“The teachers did a pretty good job of telling us apart,” said Kevin Cusson, who has accepted a job at Auto Revenue in Lee.

David Cusson said that he has accepted a job at Box Car Media in North Adams.

Kristen Wood of Pittsfield and Rebecca McKeever of Adams, who both earned bachelor degrees in biology, met as freshmen students and formed a strong bond.

“We met in a really horrible class,” said Wood.

“It cemented our friendship,” added McKeever.

The campus served as a reunion site for Suzanne Siebert of Bennington, Vt. and Christopher Trager of Dalton.

“I used to be his baby-sitter,” said Siebert, who earned a bachelor degree in interdisciplinary studies. Trager earned bachelor degree in biology.

Rebecca Mahar of North Adams earned a bachelor degree in sociology and plans to work at BFAIR in North Adams.

Maura Mills of Attleboro, Mass. earned bachelor degrees in

Commencement keynote speaker Dan Harris of ABC News and his brother, MCLA Board of Trustees member Matt Harris
Psychology and English Communications. She plans to continue her education at Kansas State University, she said.

Mills was one of several students to complete the MCLA Honors Program, and she credited program Director David Langston with student success.

“He is a wonderful man and none of us could have done it without him,” she said.

Honors program students were feted at a breakfast preceding the commencement.

Master's Degrees


Jamie Wojick of Adams plants a congratulatory kiss on daughter and MCLA graduate Stephanie Rufo.
In addition to the bachelor degrees, 47 students earned master’s degrees. Included among those earning master’s degrees are Michelle Darling, Denise Bombard, and Marie Nejaime-McCarron, all of North Adams, John E. Barry Jr. and Kevin Connolly of Adams, Carl Ameen, Matthew Bishop, Richard Brady, Klaudia Dombkowski, Karen Foley, Daniel Keegan, Heidi Tremlett and Judith Zahn, all of Pittsfield, Brian Rathbun and Maude Rich of Cheshire, Gail Yates of Dalton, Eric Bellefontaine of Lenox and Karen Romeo-Leger of Lenoxdale.

Words From the Wise

Keynote speaker ABC News correspondent Dan Harris delivered a speech that acknowledged his less-than-stellar high school years and his much improved college career. His words were peppered with bits of advice gleaned from his parents and grandfather and he chronicled his news-based trips to areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq with a rare behind-the-scenes candor.

Honorary degrees were presented to Berkshire Juvenile Court Judge Paul E. Perachi, Ellen F. Schiff, and Harris.

Speakers included Matthew Bishop and Class of 2005 President Nicole Lasavio of Attleboro. Lasavio earned bachelor degrees in mathematics and science in education, and her parting advice captured the

A moment is worth a thousand words.
essence of the day.

After reading an excerpt from the book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Lasavio said “In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite quotations, ‘You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ I wish you all the best of luck in the future and in discovering your new oceans.”

A multi-photograph MCLA 2005 commencement slideshow will be posted at iberkshires.com during the upcoming week.

Susan Bush may be reached by calling 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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