Photo courtesy of Salem State University
Commencement season on the North Shore continued on Saturday with two graduations at Salem State's O'Keefe Athletic Center.
A total of 1,490 undergraduate students, including 704 from the North Shore, made up the graduating class of 2012 from Salem State University. House speaker Robert A. DeLeo spoke to the college of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education in the morning after he and Patricia Zaido - executive director of the Salem Partnership and former director of the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Salem State - received honorary degrees from Salem State Trustee Chairman Jacob Segal and university President Patricia Meservey.
"To receive a degree, in many cases in the face of obstacles and difficulties, is an extraordinary achievement. It is something of lasting value that no one can take away from you," DeLeo said. "Many of you have, like me, done something that you are the first in your family to do. This is an achievement; one which will serve as the foundation for the rest of your life."
Kenneth Feinberg, former administrator for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, and former Special Master of the September 11 Victims' Compensation Fund, spoke to the Bertolon School of Business and the School of Human Services in the afternoon. Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters were given to Feinberg and Reverend Arthur Gerald Jr., pastor of Boston's historic Twelfth Baptist Church and former associate dean of student life at Salem State.
"I hope you succeed in reaching your practical and spiritual possibilities. Do not succumb to temporary setbacks, do not be afraid to enter the lists and wage the good fight. Do not lose heart," Feinberg said. "You are our nation's future, proof-positive of the importance and impact of higher education. Bask in the glory of what you have accomplished, and get ready for tomorrow. We as a nation have a vested stake in you. Your personal happiness and success benefit all of your fellow citizens.
"I salute you on this milestone day."