New Beginnings


MCLA celebrated its Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 16 in the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium,when 357 degrees - including 42 Master's degrees and 11 Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study - were awarded to the Class of 2009.

Author, musician and composer James McBride (left), received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from MCLA and delivered the keynote address.  

Also receiving honorary degrees this year were local educator and the co-founder of Families of September 11, Sarah "Sally" Goodrich, who received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree; and College alumnus Brian K. Fitzgerald '75, executive director of the Business-Higher Education Forum, who was awarded a Doctor of Public Service degree.

In addition, President Mary K. Grant awarded the President's Medal for Distinguished Service. This year's medal was presented to MCLA's vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Steve Green, for his many years of service to the College and the community. Green will retire this summer after 36 years at the College.

The first President's Medal was presented at the 2007 Commencement ceremony to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. President Mary K. Grant inaugurated the award to recognize individuals who embody the spirit of service to the community.

Grant said she was delighted that MCLA recognized the four honorees.

"Each has made important and significant contributions to the lives of others," she said. "Their work - be it James McBride's music and writing, Sally Goodrich's humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, Brian Fitzgerald's leadership and advocacy in the area of federal student aid programs or Steve Green's leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of the College and community - is uniquely inspiring to others."

MCLA Board of Trustees Chair Richard Lamb applauded those who were honored.

"James McBride is a classic Renaissance man and a multitalented American original," Lamb said. "Sally Goodrich is a true humanitarian who found a way to turn the worst of tragedies into a powerful force for good. And Brian Fitzgerald has brought great credit to MCLA as a distinguished educator, an accomplished administrator and an acknowledged policy expert."

Commenting on the President's Medal recipient, Lamb said, "Steve Green stands for all that is best about MCLA and our community. He is a gem of an educator and a prince of a man."