Woods College of Advancing Studies Interim Dean David Goodman (third from left) with graduate program award winners Thom Shola, Elif Cakir, Michael Aparicio, Basel Tarab, and Richkaard Verrier. (Photos by Peter M. Julian)
More than 150 students, family members, and friends gathered in the Heights Room of Corcoran Commons on April 16 for a celebratory dinner and awards ceremony in honor of 2019 graduates of BC's Woods College of Advancing Studies.
The event also recognized distinguished alumni of the school, which provides rigorous, formative, and ethics-focused undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs for non-traditional students.
In his welcoming remarks, Woods College Interim Dean David Goodman acknowleged the significant sacrifices and dedication of those assembled, noting that many of the students had balanced their studies with the demands of full-time work, caring for a loved one, or other responsibilities.
Education, he said, "calls each of us, inspiring our imagination toward the fullest version of what we can bring to this life. Whatever your circumstances, you committed to your education, investing in the best version of yourself, and you have inspired us."
“"With your Boston College education, you know the value of empathy, social justice, and service. As you rise upward in life with these new degrees, I know that you will send the elevator back down and bring others up with you. Your impact on the world will have lasting effects.”
Boston College Vice President for Planning and Assessment Kelli Armstrong, a longtime member of the Woods College advisory board, delivered the event's keynote address, echoing Goodman's sentiment.
"You have proven that you can make it to the finish line, even with some extra weight to carry," she told the graduates, "with well-honed traits of perseverance, dedication, and strength."
Reflecting on the Woods College's Jesuit mission to prepare students for principled leadership in a global society, Armstrong noted that leadership, as defined by Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius Loyola, is "about who we are as much as what we do. It’s not only what we accomplish, it’s the way in which we do it. An Ignatian leader is a servant leader, focused on the growth and well-being of both people and the communities to which they belong.
"With your Boston College education, you know the value of empathy, social justice, and service," she said. "As you rise upward in life with these new degrees, I know that you will send the elevator back down and bring others up with you. Your impact on the world will have lasting effects."
The evening included presentation of academic honors to graduating students at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels.
The Richard Lombard Award, the Woods College's highest undergraduate honor, went to Peter Salvitti, who began his studies as an information technology major at the Woods College in 2012 and now serves as chief technologist of Information Technology Services at Boston College.
Alumni Service Award winner Leslie Douglas with her husband, Glenn, and their son, Alex; Richard Lombard Award winner Peter Salvitti and his wife, Donna.
Basel Tarab, M.D., a patient relations specialist at Boston Children's Hospital and a member of its ethics committee, received the inaugural graduate award in the Master of Healthcare Administration program; Elif Cakir, who came to the Woods College from Istanbul, Turkey, and has accepted a position at the Boston office of Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm, took the award in the Master of Science in Applied Economics program.
Highest honors in graduate degree programs also were presented to Michael Aparicio of the M.S. in Leadership and Administration program, who works with small business owners to help drive positive community change; Thom Shola, a security and risk management executive at John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, in the cybersecurity and governance master's program; and Richkaard Verrier, who has devoted his professional career to helping teens stay on track in school, in the sports administration master's program.
Patrick Beer '05, who has served as a teacher in special education, Catholic high school, and elementary education, as well as a public school principal in both Canada and Myanmar, received this year's Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors a graduate who typifies the Jesuit ideals of "men and women for others" and has made a significant impact in the community and beyond.
Leslie Douglas '85, an office administrator in the Department of Communication at Boston College, has been involved in numerous volunteer activities on and off campus-—from spearheading annual charity drives to participating in relief efforts and in BC's "Read Aloud" program for children at Saint Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton. She received the Woods College Alumni Service Award.
Patricia Delaney | University Communications | April 2019