On May 18, with a brilliant blue sky overhead, a line of graduate students processed beneath the storied Bryant archway, flanked by their professors, to a tented ceremony where university officials awarded them their hard-earned advanced degrees.
The graduate program Commencement, opened by Board of Trustees Chair David Beirne ’85 with alumni greetings from Trustee Rita Williams-Bogar '76, conferred master of business administration, master of professional accountancy, and master of health sciences degrees to 164 graduates. Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., lauded the group for choosing to advance their education in a world marked by uncertainty and accelerating transformation.
“You have exhibited the strength and adaptability necessary to thrive amidst rapid change,” Gittell remarked. “I encourage you to continue to seek opportunities for growth, continue to pursue opportunities to help others, and continue to be confident in the pursuit of your dreams.”
The rapid change Gittell referenced was made manifest in a tepid address delivered by honorary degree recipient Alan Litwin '87MST ’23H — one, he admitted as he tore his speech theatrically, that was written by artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT.
“[The speech] was fine, but it wasn’t memorable,” Litwin, co-founder of accounting and business advisory firm KLR, said. “My message to you today is to be memorable.”
Earning an honorary doctor of business administration degree, Litwin became a double Bulldog on Thursday, joining 98 additional graduates who have earned two degrees from the university. Two others were Kimberly and Gabrielle Alicia Willette, both ’12 ’23MBA, who met as undergraduates at Bryant, enrolled in the part-time MBA program together and, in October of 2022, were married.
“We planned our wedding and did our MBA at the same time,” Kimberly, who works at Harvard Innovation Labs, said. In another covetable feat, the pair scored presale tickets to Saturday night’s Taylor Swift concert at Gillette Stadium — a celebratory bookend to their graduation weekend.
Earning his master of professional accounting degree, Kevin Aroke ’22 ’23MPAc said he’s excited to take the next step in his career in audit and assurance at PwC in Boston.
Honestly, it feels surreal,” Aroke, who also served on student senate, said of the experience. “It’s a day I didn’t expect to come. I’m looking forward to what’s next.”