Alidadi Roselli Bryant graduate
Alidadi, Roselli at the Bryant University graduate programs commencement in May.
Commencement 2023: A tale of two masters
Jun 06, 2023, by Casey Nilsson
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On May 18, Bryant’s graduate commencement procession was bookended by two members of the university faculty — not as solemn ceremonial observers, but as degree candidates earning honors for their commitment to lifelong learning.  

Katayoun Alidadi, Ph.D., was the first to process through the Bryant University archway. An accomplished legal scholar, associate professor, and mother of three, Alidadi enrolled in Bryant’s part-time, in-person Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2021; she’ll formally complete her coursework this summer.

“The world is changing and, instead of fearing it, I wanted to embrace it. I love learning, and I wanted to evolve,” she says of her decision to earn her MBA. “I really was just wanting to do something new, something useful, something intellectually stimulating. It’s also convenient, and I know our MBA program is a great program.”

Looking back, Alidadi remembers her law school experience as highly competitive. The MBA program, she says, is much more collaborative. Together, the students — some of whom she taught as undergraduates in her international business law course — studied accounting, finance, marketing, and other challenging subjects. Alidadi, who concentrated in international business, also traveled to Dubai as part of her coursework. She says her courses changed the way she thinks about her own career — both as a scholar of international law and a tenured member of the Bryant faculty.

“In the law, we tend to mandate or prohibit things. The legal framework can be seen as black and white. But really, we need good leaders, not just good laws,” she says. “Taking these classes also allowed me to understand our students and all the conflicting commitments they have. It’s not easy to manage your priorities in group-based environments.”

Paul Roselli could relate. The final graduate student to pass through the archway on May 18, Roselli says he decided at 63 years old to go for his master’s degree in global environmental studies. It took him seven-and-a-half years to complete the program, which has since been sunsetted, and he says the experience “kept on being intimidating, right until the very end.” His saving grace? His fellow students were equally challenged by, and engaged with, the work.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I was up at 2, 3, 4 a.m. preparing for a quiz, I’d get stuck, I’d email my group and, within 5 minutes, I’d get answers because they were all up, too,” he says, adding that his professors were equally accessible. Gaytha Langlois, Ph.D., his advisor, retired before he graduated but remained committed to guiding him on his educational journey. “I’ve been privileged to learn from so many top-notch professors.”

On the day of the graduate commencement, Roselli became emotional as he crossed the stage to accept his diploma. Members of the audience cheered as he wiped tears from his eyes.  

“I was thrilled and excited and it was such an emotional high that it overwhelmed me,” he says. “I think it was, yes, the accomplishment, but it was a long journey. There were times in those seven-and-a-half years that I didn’t think I would make it.”

Make it he did, and his Bryant journey isn’t yet over. Last year, Roselli was tapped to teach a life sciences lecture, and then lab, to first-year students — a move that made sense to him.

“Teaching,” he says, “is the natural extension of learning.”

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