MANSFIELD - Three hundred ninety four students received degrees at Mansfield University's 148th commencement May 18 at Decker Gymnasium.
Before presenting the graduates with their diplomas, interim MU President Allan Golden told them, "I've enjoyed immensely my time as interim president. I have especially enjoyed my interaction with you - the students. Whether it was a campus event, a special banquet, or a chance meeting in the Library, these experiences have been rewarding beyond my expectation."
Peter Garland, acting chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) attended the ceremony and congratulated the graduates.
"As you prepare to depart Mansfield, remember what you have learned here and use it well," Garland said. "Remember the friendships you have made and hold onto them throughout your lifetime. Be proud of your alma mater, as all those associated with it are proud of you."
ESPN Radio host Freddie Coleman, a 1987 Mansfield graduate, was the speaker.
"The one thing that this University taught me was the only person that can hold me back is me," Coleman told the graduates. "No matter what I've been able to do, no matter what experiences that I have had, I made sure to get out of my own way. It's very easy to talk yourself out of something, especially if it's something you really want to do. It's worth it to get out of your way and go after it. Mansfield University taught me that, and it has taught you."
Recounting a rocky start to his Mansfield experience, which involved a 12-hour wait for a bus in Williamsport on his first trip from his home in New York City, Coleman talked about how that and other experiences and opportunities prepared him to battle through adversity and pursue his goals.
"I never thought that one day, I would stand up here before all these fresh young minds and faces and speak about being a proud graduate of Mansfield University," he said. "But then again, maybe I should have because that's what Mansfield University taught me. Be smart - be tough - be the best - and be Mansfield."
Hanako Henty of Towanda was named this year's Outstanding Senior. Nominated by the department of music, she received a bachelor's degree in keyboard performance with an overall QPA of 4.0.
A member of the honors program, Henty is a two-time winner of the Mansfield University Aria/Concerto Competition, played with the MU Jazz Ensemble and was president of the Student Composers Society. She performed recently at the Endless Mountains Winter Jazz Fest and is the primary accompanist at the Mansfield United Methodist Church. She plans to pursue her master's degree in jazz studies and eventually earn her doctorate in Music.
Also during commencement, Student Trustee Mark Phifer spoke on behalf of the Council of Trustees and introduced Coleman. Stephanie Adams Ulmer '04, president of the Alumni Association, gave the alumni greeting and President Aaron Miller represented the Student Government Association.
Lawrence Mansfield '83 represented the Mansfield University Foundation and presented the senior class gift. The MU Concert Wind Ensemble provided musical accompaniment for the event.