Bryant university graduate programs commencement
184 Bryant University graduate students passed beneath the institution's iconic archway before receiving their degrees on May 16.
'Go out and be great,' Commencement speaker urges graduate degree recipients
May 17, 2024, by Stephen Kostrzewa
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The rain let up just in time for graduate students as they prepared to proceed under the Bryant Archway — cheered on by a crowd of faculty, staff, family, and friends — into the Commencement ceremony tent, and onto bright futures. The traditional procession provided an opportunity to savor the moment, reflect on success, and imagine the amazing things that could come next.

The 2024 Bryant University Graduate Commencement held on May 16, honored certified graduates and degree candidates scheduled to complete coursework by August 2024. The 184 students, part of the largest graduate class in the history of Bryant University, received a range of degrees, ranging from Master of Business Administration to Master of Science in Actuarial Science. This year also marked the first graduation ceremony for four new programs — Master of Science in Actuarial Science,  Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Data Science, and Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics — that Bryant introduced in 2023.

Brittany Gouws ’23, '24MSc — one of 84 freshly minted “Double Bulldogs” who received their second Bryant degree at the ceremony — notes there’s a special pride in being part of the first cohort in the Master of Science in Business Analytics program. It’s also an experience that forged a strong bond between her close-knit group of fellow students — and with their professors as well, she says.

Plus, there’s an allure in being pioneers. “I feel like our names should be in giant letters on the wall,” laughs Master of Science in Data Science graduate Sabrina Rao ’24MSc, who’s only mostly joking.

In his address to the widely accomplished group, Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., lauded their hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge — qualities, he told them, that would serve them well throughout their lives.

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“You will be leaders in a world with advancing technologies, accelerating application of AI and data analytics, stronger and more polarized social movements, and heightened economic uncertainty,” noted Gittell. “However, with your Bryant graduate degree, I am confident you have the skills and ability to navigate challenges and seize opportunities that will improve organizations, uplift communities, and shape a brighter future for yourselves, your families, and others.”

Commencement speaker Edmund (Ted) Shallcross III ’24H, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration during the ceremony, offered advice on how to use those skills and abilities to create not just a successful career, but a successful life as well.

Patricia Adensaya '23, '24MBA poses with Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D. during Byant's Graduate Commencement ceremony
Patricia Adesanya '23, '24MBA poses with Bryant University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D. after receiving her degree.

Success, suggested Shallcross, the president and CEO of Amica Mutual Insurance Company, requires us to be authentically ourselves: to harness the singular talents and personal stories — both our triumphs and our tragedies — that make us who we are and share them with the world.

“Each and every one of us here today has at least one superpower. This is something that you’re very good at – it’s probably something that comes really easily to you, yet is really difficult for others,” he noted. “When you learn what your superpower is and use it every day, you’ll go further than you could ever imagine.

“Go out and be great,” Shallcross urged.

After the ceremony, many of the graduates lingered by the Commencement tent, taking pictures and basking in the moment — including David Puleo ’24MBA. “It feels a little bit surreal,” Puleo admits, “It’s been a while since the first time I graduated.”

David and Rebekah Puleo pose for a photo after Bryant University's graduate programs commencement
Husband and wife David and Rebekah Puleo both received Master of Business Administration degrees at this year's graduate programs commencement.

A lot has changed since then. He’s now the vice president of operations at GTR Manufacturing Corp, balancing work and school, for one. And this time he had a partner in his studies: His wife, Rebekah, who earned her own MBA degree alongside him. Sharing the challenges and successes that led to this moment with her, he says, makes it extra special.

Christopher Pallante ’23, ’24MSAS, who was awarded his Master of Science in Accounting degree, is eager to begin his next adventure, sitting for the CPA exam before starting his new job as an audit associate at DiSanto, Priest & Co. in June. He feels like he’s ready, he says — for the exam, for the job, and for whatever comes next.

For tonight, though, he’s happy to take a break and celebrate with his family, some of whom came from as far away as Florida to share the event with him. 

Recordings of the graduate ceremony, and other Commencement events, are available at commencement.bryant.edu. To learn more about Bryant's graduate programs, click here.

 

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