UNION, NJ - Wednesday was "the day" for most gathered at Kean University's Harwood Arena. That is where Union County College (UCC) held its two spring graduations at noon and at 6 p.m. During the course of the day well over 1,000 came there to participate in the ceremonies or watch and cheer someone close to them.
The ceremony started late because of much tighter security measures following the terrorist tragedy in Manchester. Still, despite the extra wait during one of the hottest days of the year spirits were high.
Dr. Margaret McMenamin, President of Union County College, presided over the ceremony. Pastor Scott Elliott of Liquid Church in Mountainside gave the invocation and the benediction. Zachary Trinidad of the Class of 2017 sang the "National Anthem" and Aleksandra Polshakova of the Class of 2017 was the Student Speaker. Some of what she said echoed the message of the top of her mortar board, "The best is yet to come."
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Mr. Victor M. Richel welcomed the students and encouraged them to do their best to reduce coarseness that exists in the public square by being more respectful of each other. Dr. McMenamin in her charge to the students said "It is your future now. Do your best to make the world a better place."
After several awards were given, the degrees were conferred by Dr. Maris Lown, Dr. McMenamin and Mr. Richel to those earning an Associate in Arts Degree, an Associate in Applied Sciences Degree and a Certificate.
After the degrees were received, tassels were turned, many hugs were given and there were smiles all around.