BANGOR – About 810 students can now say they are Husson University graduates.
More than 7,000 people were at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor Saturday for the university’s 120th commencement.
“I’m excited, I’m overwhelmed. I mean it’s just so weird having all four years come to an end in one day,” said Olivia Williams, the class of 2019’s valedictorian, and now a Criminal Justice program graduate. “Hard work has paid off…just an overall feeling of success.”
For Williams, it’s been a busy road to get here.
The Winterport native (who moved to Kenduskeag and went to Hampden Academy) balanced a 4.0 GPA average, two jobs, volunteer work, and is now moving on to law school to help domestic violence survivors.
It’s an accomplishment she credits to her support team.
“I’ve had amazing professors, amazing advisors, I would not be here today without them,” said Williams.
Like Williams, 75 percent of Husson’s newest graduates are from Maine.
In her address, commencement speaker Senator Susan Collins said she hopes they stay in the state they already call home.
“We need the energy, the enthusiasm, and the education, that these students will bring to the workforce,” said Sen. Collins, R – Maine.
She used to work at Husson, and encouraged grads to build a sense of community here in Maine and around the country.
“There’s far too much divisiveness and polarization and I think this generation can help bring us back together,” said Sen. Collins.
That sense of community is something Husson’s president highlighted.
He said within a year, 95 percent of graduates are employed or going on to grad school.
“There’s a focus on experiential learning…that’s what I hear from employers out in the work place is when they hire a Husson grad they know they’re hiring someone that can do the job,” said Husson University President Bob Clark.