BANGOR, Maine — Shouts of recognition Saturday morning nearly drowned out the Maine St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums as the families and friends of Husson University graduates filled the Winkin Athletic Complex for commencement.
The cloudy skies and intermittent drizzle did not dampen the joyous mood as Husson marked its 113th graduation ceremony. This year, more than 600 students earned their degrees, including about 200 who earned graduate degrees.
Husson prides itself on educating native Mainers and the top students in the Class of 2012 both have deep roots in the state.
Shanna G. Allen, 25, of Mount Desert was valedictorian. The daughter of Timothy Allen of Mount Desert and Carmen Tocco of Bucksport, she earned a grade point average of 3.993 and received Bachelor of Science degrees in criminal justice and psychology.
“I chose the dual major at Husson because its curriculum was nothing but intriguing,” she said in an email interview. “I was instantly struck with excitement when I found course descriptions for offerings like Profiling, Investigations and Serial Homicide; and I could not wait for the final semester’s Forensic Psychology course.
“Although I have never really been interested in becoming a law enforcement officer, nor a therapist for that matter, I remained at Husson because I loved learning about the deviant behaviors of criminals and the motives behind such actions,” she continued. “Furthermore, I loved learning from professors with extraordinary backgrounds.”
Allen said she will spend the summer working in Bar Harbor and study for the Law School Aptitude Test. She hopes to fit in a trip to New Zealand before beginning law school in the fall of 2013.
Bethany J. Roberts, 25, of Boulder, Colo., was the salutatorian. The daughter of Kimberly Anne Holman of Boulder and Jay Frank Roberts of Bangor, she earned a grade point average of 3.968 and received a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
“My ultimate goal in life is to have my own school for children with autism,” she said in an email interview. “My school would run off [Applied Behavior Analysis] principles. Essentially, I want to make a difference in the lives of children with autism and their families.”
Roberts plans to work in special education as an educational technician before going back to school in fall 2013 to earn a master’s degree in special education.
Former Ambassador Patrick D. Duddy urged Husson graduates to embrace the changes that will impact their future. A native of Bangor, Duddy spent 29 years at the State Department, including postings in Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Panama, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
Duddy served as assistant secretary of state for the western Hemisphere and as consul general at the U.S. consulate in Brazil. A graduate of Bangor High School and Colby College, he received an honorary doctorate Saturday from Husson in public service.
Old Town native Arthur A. Comstock received an honorary degree in business administration. Comstock earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Husson in 1956. He began his banking career in 1959 at Northeast Bank in East Millinocket and rose to the position of president and chairman of the board. In the 1990s his bank merged with Bank of America and Comstock was appointed senior vice president for investment and community affairs.
“Spend 90 cents of every dollar you earn,” Comstock advised the graduates.
As a younger man he was a member of the Rotary and worked with several local nonprofit groups in the Millinocket area, advising them on investment strategies. During the next 40 years he served on more than 30 boards.
“I suggest that as you graduate, you look into your communities to what organizations there are that you can join,” Comstock said.
Clara Swan, who received the President’s Medal of Honor, has attended most of the school’s commencements, Husson President Robert A. Clark said Saturday. She graduated from Husson in 1933, when it was called the Maine School of Commerce.
Swan, who marked her 100th birthday at a party last weekend at Husson, has been affiliated with the university since enrolling as an undergraduate in the fall of 1930. During her time at the school she served as director, coach, teacher, assistant principal, academic dean, registrar, corporate officer, assistant to the president and vice president. In 2000, Husson named its new fitness center for her.
While most of the degrees were handed out Saturday, Husson will hold a second ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12 in Portland at Woodfords Corner Congregational Church.