Mount Ida College Graduates Asked to “Wear Youth as a Badge of Honor” During Commencement

Mount Ida College cel­e­brated the Class of 2014 and pre­sented hon­orary degrees to a group of influ­en­tial leaders on Friday, May 16, 2014 during the undergraduate and graduate cer­e­mony of the College’s 115th com­mence­ment exer­cises. The cel­e­bra­tion was held on the Lower Athletic Field at Mount Ida before some 325 stu­dents, college leaders, fac­ulty, staff, family, and friends.

Mount Ida pre­sented hon­orary degrees to U.S Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, first-term Congressman from the 4th District of Massachusetts; Sarah-Ann Shaw, Boston’s first African American female broadcast journalist and a prominent civil rights activist; and Steven H. Wright, who is cur­rently the exec­u­tive partner overseeing the management of Holland & Knight’s Boston office.

Sev­eral promi­nent themes emerged during the com­mence­ment addresses. Grad­u­ates were urged to serve, pursue their dreams and promise to always believe that you’re never too young to change the world.


Speaking at the ceremony, Mount Ida Pres­i­dent Barry Brown urged the class of 2014 to take the spirit, new ideas and transformative culture of Mount Ida with them, as they shape not only their future, but the future of America.

“At this great small college, we see America’s strength, new ideas, new thinking, new energy that no society has yet embraced – it is our strength, your strength,” said Brown. “At this celebration is the new America – knowing each of you as I do – it is going to be a strong, vibrant and exciting place.”

In his address, Brown asked grad­u­ates to reflect on the past and look forward to an even brighter future. “I know the future, our future is in good hands,” he concluded.

Throughout the cer­e­mony, grad­u­ates, and atten­dees shared their exhil­a­ra­tion and con­grat­u­la­tions on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MountIda14.

The audience applauded hon­orary degree recip­i­ents who were recognized for their achieve­ments: Congressman Kennedy for his commitment to social justice and economic equality; Shaw as a “trailblazer” and for setting a new standard for broadcast journalism in New England; and Wright, as an “esteemed litigator and philanthropist.”

In his commencement address, Kennedy asked graduates to make a promise.

“What I ask of you today is that you won’t ever let anyone say the following four words to you:  you are too young,” he said, who was met with resounding applause.Promise that so long as you are blessed with it, you will wear your youth as a badge of honor.”

He said his own journey has had both triumphs and challenges — from serving as a member of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, to his first day at Harvard Law School, and to serving now as a Congressman of the 4th District of Massachusetts: “We’ll make some really big mistakes, learn a thing or two, and gain more confidence, intuition and understanding every day.”

“But as the days and years pass, we’ll also lose something. Our youth – that particular mix of fearlessness, hopefulness, and inventiveness shining boldly and brightly in each of you today.”

To grad­u­ates, he offered this piece of advice: “Class of 2014, your youth is your gift. It is fleeting and fast so own it, cherish it, and put it to work.”

“You are not too young. You are not too naïve. You are not too inexperienced. You are exactly what your country needs,” Kennedy concluded.

For her part, Senior Class President Sonia Wiggins, a fashion merchandising and marketing major, deliv­ered an inspiring speech to her fellow graduates.

Wiggins began by thanking her family, friends, President Brown, faculty, and fellow class officers. At Mount Ida, Wiggins said, she and her peers have been afforded lim­it­less oppor­tu­ni­ties to chart their career paths and succeed according to their own personal definition of success.

“We have succeeded thanks to all that Mount Ida has provided us,” she said.

The annual presentation of the Ronald J. Lettieri Award for Excellence in Teaching, Mount Ida’s highest teaching honor, was awarded during the ceremony to Jeffrey Megna, Chair of the Funeral Service Education Department.

Presented by Alan J. Whitcomb, Dean of Curriculum & Academic Quality, Megna was honored for his “lifelong commitment to teaching.”

“Teaching is in your DNA. You always have time for your students,” Whitcomb noted at the presentation of the award.

Mount Ida also recognized its alumni as Ronald Akie, Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed the class of 2014 to the alumni family.

In closing remarks, alumna Stacey Dorsey ’02, issued her charge to the newest group of Mount Ida alumni: “Stay connected, be proud, bring back your achievements and never lose touch.”

At the end of the cer­e­mony, family, friends, faculty and staff cheered as grad­u­ates participated in the graduation tradition of moving their tassels on their graduation caps from the right to left side – officially becoming graduates of the class of 2014.

Enjoy commencement and graduation celebration photo galleries for select candid images after each ceremony and other related festivities during commencement week on the College’s flickr page. Please note, it may take a week or so for professional images and the College’s images to be available online.

Don’t see yourself in the galleries?

Don’t worry, we have you covered. A professional photographer and videographer were on hand to capture photographs of each graduate as he/she crosses the stage. These photographs and videos will be made available for purchase.

To order your photos, please check your email for an order form, or reach out to Hockmeyer Studios directly at (978) 388-9832 or

To order a copy of the video, please fill out this form.