BANGOR, Maine — Patty Trask could not stop smiling Saturday morning.
Her granddaughters took turns climbing in and out of her lap and the sun beat down on her in the Winkin Sports Complex at Husson University.
Trask, 57, of Winterport beamed through it all as she watched her daughter, Christina Dinardo, 30, of Winterport receive her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Trask said that she earned the same degree from the same institution in 1991.
“I’m really proud,” the mother and grandmother said. “She’s worked really hard going to school and [taking] care of the kids.”
Dinardo’s children — Tessa, 10, Dylan, 8, and Hanna, 6 — and her father, Mike Trask, 57, nodded their heads in agreement with their grandmother.
The new nurse’s husband, Vinnie Dinardo, 32, declared his wife’s graduation “wonderful.” He said his contribution to her studies was “doing dishes, doing housework and juggling kids.”
Christina Dinardo is working in the cardiac unit at the Eastern Maine Medical Center, according to her mother, who works as a surgical and intensive care nurse at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.
Dinardo was one of 550 students to received degrees Saturday at Husson’s 110th commencement ceremony — and its first since the institution became a university last year.
At the Bangor ceremony, 330 undergraduate degrees, 125 master’s degrees and two honorary doctorates were awarded, according to information provided by Husson. Students from 139 Maine towns, eight states and five countries earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Husson’s schools of business, education, health, and science and humanities.
Senior Class President Timothy Talpey, 24, of Jackman quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson in his short class address.
“Emerson said, ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,’” Talpey said. “Don’t be afraid to carve your own path.”
In the two-hour ceremony held the day before Mother’s Day, Talpey, who earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a Master of Science in business, choked up as he thanked his mother at the end of his speech.
“Mom, thanks for supporting me and helping me to be the best I can be,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe delivered the commencement address 40 years after her own graduation from the University of Maine. She advised the graduates to use some techniques she’s found have helped her be successful.
“I’ve never taken no for an answer,” she told the graduates and their guests. “I’ve always believed that anything is possible and anything can be overcome.”
Husson University awarded honorary doctorate degrees to Paul Husson, the son of the school’s founder, who has worked in the development department of the institution. He helped reach out to international students, Husson President William Beardsley said Saturday.
Beardsley also awarded an honorary degree to Sidney R. Unobskey, a well-known businessman whose financial gifts to Husson helped it open a small campus center in Calais. The Unobskey College is designed to serve students on both sides of the St. Croix River, according to information on Husson’s Web site.
Saturday’s commencement marked Beardsley’s last as president. He announced last year that he would retire in December after 25 years as head of Husson.