On Tuesday, December 13, the Unity College community gathered at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts (UCCPA) to celebrate the achievements of 33 students who are eligible to receive their degrees. Many of these students will return to campus in May to participate in the formal 2012 commencement exercises.

Each fall semester, Unity College celebrates the achievements of students who are eligible to be awarded their degree.

Some of the students who were honored are eligible to graduate a semester early, while others extended their time spent in college beyond the usual spring commencement exercises. This latter group includes students who have enhanced their marketability with additional course work or through gaining extensive internship experience.

The fall celebration on December 13 of students who are eligible to receive their degrees became more formalized this year.  It is anticipated that the December event will become even more formalized in 2012, with the addition of regalia and other aspects of traditional academic ceremonies.

The December event at the UCCPA was an opportunity to formally recognize the achievements of this group of individuals who will be leaving the close knit campus community.

Offering comments were President Stephen Mulkey, who spoke of his lifelong quest to pursue meaningful work and leave a legacy of environmental achievement; Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Trumble; William Zoellick, Chair of the Board of Trustees; Dean for Student Affairs Gary Zane; and Amy Kennedy ’12, an Environmental Policy major who is student representative to the Board of Trustees and Student Government Association President.

Participants praised the event.

“I earned my degree in Environmental Education,” noted Kelsey Sullivan ’11, daughter of John Sullivan, Director of the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts.  “I really enjoyed the December commencement.  We work just as hard as May graduates and I am glad they celebrated our hard work in the way that they did.”

Sullivan is looking forward to participating in the May 2012 commencement exercises.

“I will be attending in May for commencement because I want the whole cap and gown experience,” Sullivan said.  “The December commencement was important to me because I worked hard to earn my degree.  I am glad we were all honored.  It was a special night.”

Events and summer programs coordinator Kate Grenier addressed how the event has changed.

“The structure of the event reflected the larger and more formal commencement in May,” said Grenier.  “The December celebration came about because we increasingly heard from graduate candidates who wanted their family and friends to be involved.  The new mini May format was well received by all participants.  We have been receiving many compliments.”

A centerpiece of the event was placing an emphasis on recognizing achievement.

“The celebration is a wonderful way to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of December graduates,” noted Grenier.  “I am thrilled with the response and plan to continue this new, more formal December celebration as a tradition.”

The Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts is located at 42 Depot Street (off Route 202) in Unity, Maine.

Unity College is a small private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

In 2011, Unity College was named to the top 30 of the Washington Monthly college rankings, and was one of eighteen U.S. colleges and universities named to The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll.

Thursday, December 15, 2011