Dean Holds 158th Commencement


Dean College held its 158th Commencement Exercises honoring the Class of 2024 on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the Dean College campus in Franklin, MA.

The 250 graduates representing 19 states and seven countries received their degrees, with many family members and friends in attendance. The ceremony was held outside on the front lawn of Dean Hall, along Awpie Way, with a livestream option for those unable to attend.

Michael J. Bobbitt, the Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council, provided the commencement address. Bobbitt asked graduates to use their knowledge and imagination to shape the future. “The world is waiting for your creativity, your passion, and your leadership.”

Bobbitt also shared the lessons he has learned in his life and career saying, “Creativity, aligned with empathy, can shift our thinking from opposition as a ‘bad thing’ to opposition as good data. You’ve already learned that education at its root is about seeking knowledge. The issues we face are complex and multifaceted, requiring innovative and creative solutions. It is here that your education becomes not just relevant, but essential. Creativity allows us to turn knowledge, in consideration of opposing views, into solutions to help all people.”

Mark D. Boyce, chair of the Dean College Board of Trustees, shared advice for graduates to take with them as citizens of the world. “Don’t be afraid of the future. Be bold, be bulldogs,” he said. “Your education does not end here. The world you are entering is one of perpetual learning and adaptation.” He continued by advising the graduates of “the importance of using your skills not just for innovation, but for inclusion.” And to remember that the world is not just black and white, but “actually, it is a wonderful diverse rainbow of colors and people, places and choices.” Boyce concluded by telling the new graduates, “I hope you go forth from Dean and make the world a better place, continuing to be exposed to new ideas, new people and new places.”

Representing the Class of 2024 was student speaker Madison Frechette, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and an Associate in Arts for Dance.

While at Dean, Frechette was involved in several campus organizations, including the founding of the college’s new Women in Business Club in 2023. Frechette was also active in Dean’s dance companies and performances, the college’s community outreach efforts and the on-campus Active Minds chapter. Additionally, she served as a peer mentor and a student ambassador for Dean.

Frechette spoke about the Class of 2024’s journey at Dean, one that is unique to this year’s graduates. Most did not get a proper high school graduation ceremony and began their first year of college with virtual classes, which progressed to some in-person courses with frequent COVID testing, to finally a normal college experience. She reflected on the friendships made, the lessons learned and the resilience of her peers.

“As we step into the next chapter of our lives, let’s be filled with excitement and anticipation for the endless possibilities that lie ahead,” said Frechette. “Some of us are pursuing careers, while others will continue their education or explore new passions. Whatever path we choose, we are not alone. We are part of a community that will continue to support and uplift us as we navigate the challenges and triumphs of life beyond Dean.”

In addition to conferring degrees to the Class of 2024, honorary degrees were presented for the second time in the college’s history to two recipients for their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to society. Keynote speaker, Bobbitt, received a Doctor of Fine Arts and Peter W. Galbraith, former U.S. diplomat, author and humanitarian, received a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond, co-founder and pastor of Boston’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, delivered the invocation and Reverend Bob Poitras, pastor of the Parish of Saint Mary in Franklin, MA, delivered the benediction.

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Sunday, from 1-4 the Franklin Historical Museum, 80 W. Central Street,  continues its display of Dean history and memorabilia. FREE 

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