Mitchell College Holds 69th Commencement featuring address by Mohegan Chief Malerba
Mitchell College conferred 200 degrees during the College's 69th Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m. on the campus green, with an invocation, address and benediction given by Mohegan Tribe Chief Lynn Malerba. A total of 21 associate degrees and 178 bachelor degrees were conferred.
The bachelor’s candidate with the highest grade point average and valedictorian of the class was Susan Solecki of Waterford, CT. Solecki received the Board of Trustees Award for Academic Achievement. The bachelor’s candidate with the second highest grade point average and salutatorian of the class was Erich Paul Spader of Mystic, CT. Spader received the Faculty Award for Academic Achievement.
The associate degree candidate receiving the highest grade point average was Susanna B. Petersson of Herrakra, Sweden. Petersson also received the Board of Trustees Award for Academic Achievement. The associate degree candidate receiving the second highest grade point average was Olivia Mercedes Conde (in absentia) of Watertown, MA. Conde received the Faculty Award for Academic Achievement.
Commencement speaker Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn
"Lynn" Malerba became the 18th Chief of the Mohegan Tribe—a lifetime appointment made by the Tribe's Council of Elders—and is the first female Chief in the tribe's modern history. As Mitchell College President Mary Ellen Jukoski noted, "In Mohegan Chief Lynn Malerba, our community is blessed with a ground-breaking local leader who also commands a place on a national stage. She demonstrates for Mitchell students the power of preparation in accomplishing great things in our corner of the world and beyond."
Prior to becoming Chief, Malerba served as Chairwoman of the Tribal Council, and also worked in Tribal Government as Executive Director of Health and Human Services. In addition, she had a lengthy career as a registered nurse, culminating as the Director of Cardiology and Pulmonary Services at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Connecticut and an honorary doctorate from St. Joseph College in Hartford.
US Attorney General Eric Holder named Chief Malerba as one of fourteen tribal leaders in the Justice Department's Tribal Nations Leadership Council (TNLC), and she also is Chairwoman of the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee of the federal Indian Health Service (IHS). Locally Chief Malerba serves as Secretary and Director for Lawrence & Memorial Corporation and the Board of Trustees for the University of St. Joseph.
Todd Esperance ’13 of Norwalk, CT, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice–Justice Studies, was selected to be the Student Speaker. The Commencement Ceremony also included a presentation of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award to retiring professor of behavioral science Jeffrey S. Turner, A.S. ’67, Ph.D. Former Mitchell College Trustee Marilyn Percy, of Waterford, CT was presented with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award during a Board of Trustees meeting prior to the ceremony.
Commencement was held on the College's campus green with more than 1,000 people attending.
Coverage of Commencement appeared in The Day