Five hundred and twenty four members of the Class of 2012 received degrees during Charter Oak State College's commencement ceremony held on Sunday, June 3, in Welte Auditorium at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT. One hundred and eighty seven were in attendance, wearing environmentally-friendly caps and gowns. A live webcast of the ceremony was hosted on CharterOak.edu.
An honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, was presented to Doris G. Cassiday, a founder of Charter Oak State College and current Assistant Director of Academic Programs. Ms. Cassiday served as the first Chair for the Board for State Academic Awards, then as Vice-Chair and Secretary between 1973 and 1984. When the Charter Oak State College Foundation was created, she served as the first Foundation President and then as Executive Director from 1980-1995.
Charter Oak President, Ed Klonoski addressed the graduates. The student speaker was Tara M. Keating, who served as Student Representative and as an officer of the Student Association. The ceremony was webcast to graduates across the country who were unable to attend in person.
In his remarks, President Klonoski congratulated the graduates for taking on the challenge of completed their degree work while also handling the responsibilities of work and family.
"Charter Oak grads are here because they decided to finish their degree. They started something, it got interrupted, and they were determined to make that dream come true," he said. "We live in an age where such quiet quests are not celebrated. Instead, we celebrate overnight sensations, teenage millionaires, American idols, reality TV survivors, and stupid pet tricks. But what we are here to celebrate today is a group of people who made a commitment to their education, and stuck to that goal through family emergencies, computer problems, financial setbacks, and bad weather.
"You are heroic because you refused to give up, refused to quit, refused to quietly abandon your dream. Like Odysseus, you may have taken a long time, but today you have made it home," he said.
Shirley Adams, Provost, Charter Oak State College, shared the following statistics regarding the Class of 2012.
- 65% are women.
- Graduates range in age from 19 to 68; the average age is 39.
- 65% are from Connecticut.
- Graduates hail from 38 states and 5 countries.
- Once enrolled, the shortest time to earn a bachelor's degree was 5.8 months and the longest time was 339.9 months or 28.3 years.
- Angela Klonoski, the wife of Charter Oak State College President Ed Klonoski, is a member of the Class of 2012.
Awards presented to Class of '12 graduates
The Doris G. Cassiday Award is given to those graduates of Charter Oak who have achieved excellence in innovative learning and who exemplify the essence of the Charter Oak mission. With this award, the College recognizes individuals who avail themselves fully of a broad range of learning options, earning credits both inside and outside the traditional classroom setting. These options include distance learning, testing, portfolio assessment, contract learning, military service school courses and other non-collegiate sponsored instruction, which has been evaluated for credit, as well as classroom instruction.
2012 Doris G. Cassiday Award recipients included:
- Linda Marie Benedict, Bethel, CT
- Glenn Flynn, Fair Lawn, NJ
- Timothy M. McClellan, Carrollton, VA
- Glenn Michael Buonanducci, Broad Brook, CT
- Valerie Jane Howe, Forestville, CT
- Alicia C. York, Greenfield, WI
- Keith Darnell Dorsey, Laguna Niguel, CA
- Lea Lemay, Tolland, CT
Awards for Outstanding Academic Performance were presented to:
- Warren H. Hyatt, Jr.
- Sharon L. Wood
Founded in 1973, Charter Oak State College is Connecticut's only public online college, offering associate and bachelor's degree completion programs in high-demand fields including Health Care Administration, Public Safety Administration, Business Administration, Information Systems and more. Charter Oak students complete degree programs through online courses and alternative approaches to earning credit. Charter Oak is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and governed by Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Education.