BANGOR, Maine — Beal College, founded in 1891, held its 119th graduation ceremonies on Sunday at Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High School. With nearly 180 graduates, this year’s graduating class is the largest in the school’s history.
This is also the first year students graduated from the school’s new diploma program in substance abuse counseling, in addition to traditional one- and two-year programs in business, health care, early childhood education and social services.
“As small business is the backbone of the Maine economy and employees are the backbone of a business, Beal College is proud to be graduating the largest class in our 120-year history,” said Beal College President Allen Stehle. “Our well-trained graduates will strengthen Maine businesses that will help drive our economic growth.”
Commencement speaker Dan Cashman, a business owner, local late-night television host and former Baldacci administration spokesman, described his path to personal and professional success, including his longtime dream of working in television.
“I wanted to do something in late-night television. Maine didn’t have such an opportunity, so I created one,” he said. “No, it wasn’t easy, and yes, it was and still is hard, but it is worth it.”
The Old Town native told the graduating class that being from Maine is a powerful asset in life.
“We are in a state that is known throughout the country as a leader,” he said. “We are leaders in boat building, papermaking, blueberry production, and — much to Pennsylvania’s dismay — whoopie pie ownership.”
This year’s valedictorian was Cody Laite and the salutatorian was Catherine Burke; both are graduates of Beal’s Criminal Justice Law Enforcement program.
“In high school I started out as just an average student, but when I came to Beal, the teachers spent extra time helping me and now I am graduating with honors,” said Brittney Shibles, a member of the class of 2011 who gave the farewell address at Sunday’s graduation.