St. Joseph's College 2012 commencement
Number of graduates
922 bachelor's degrees, 185 master's degrees.
Megan Stanton, valedictorian of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, active duty U.S. Air Force, bachelor's degree in health care administration
"To the class of 2012, thank you. For the strength to get through the many challenges. For the friendships we've forged. . . . What was once apparent torture is what we will look back on with nostalgia."
Theresa A. Regnante, chief executive and president of United Way of Long Island
"If this was the last day of your life, would you do what you're about to do anyway? Saying no too many days in a row to that question is a course in need of correction."
Jillian Kearney, Shoreham, 21, math and computer science
"I'm moving next week and I'm thrilled. I've always wanted to live in the city, so it is just beyond me that I'm going to get to do that while getting a master's degree." Kearney will live in Manhattan while completing a teaching fellowship through Math for America, a charity that recruits math and science teachers for city public schools. She is pursuing a master's in education.
Francene Lesson, Patchogue, 37, business
"This was for personal satisfaction. I already have a job, and I'm making a good living, but you always wonder whether not having that degree is going to hold you back. This is my moment and I put everything into getting here." She is a full-time business consultant for Verizon who is raising two children while attending college.
Louis LaRusso, Massapequa, 22, history and secondary education
"It takes a lot of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. But it [a job] will come. In time, it will happen." LaRusso is looking for a teaching job and starting a master's program in history at St. John's University.
Joseph Aguila, Holbrook, 22, English and secondary education
"I feel like I've taken advantage of everything during this college experience. I've traveled, found love, learned a lot and hopefully made my family proud. . . . I decided to follow my passion and I know I won't regret it." Aguila has changed majors and career goals from business to teaching English.