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For the First Time, Endicott College to Celebrate Van Loan School and Undergraduate College Graduates in Separate Commencement Ceremonies

May 16, 2017

For the first time in the College’s 77-year history, Endicott College will hold two commencement exercises -- one on Thursday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m. for the Van Loan School and the second on Saturday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. for the traditional Undergraduate College. Both ceremonies will take place at Hempstead Stadium on the Endicott campus in Beverly, Mass.

According to President Wylie, “Over the past few years, participation in our graduation ceremonies has increased dramatically and in order for us to give the proper time and respect to all of our students, we have decided to hold two ceremonies. This way, we can customize each ceremony to its audience.”

At the Van Loan School ceremony, the College will be graduating the Endicott’s first six Ph.D. students in Applied Behavior Analysis. Of the first six Ph.D. graduates, three have already secured full-time faculty appointments and the other three are employed in senior positions in human service agencies. 

More than 1,135 students graduate in 2017 from Van Loan and the Undergraduate School: 10 students with a Doctor of Educational Leadership or Doctor of Philosophy; 457 with Master of Arts, Master of Education, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Fine Arts degrees; 636 students with Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees; and 32 with Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degrees.

Speakers & Honorees

On Thursday evening, Elizabeth “Libby” Moore, Class of 1986, is the commencement speaker at the Van Loan ceremony. Moore is a certified life coach, international speaker, adventurer, and connection maker who loves helping people reconnect to possibility in their lives and careers. She is a mentor to many, including college students, millennials, and women and girls at the Rikers Island correctional facility.

Prior to her current role, Moore served as chief of staff to Oprah Winfrey for 11 years, acting as her key liaison. She also worked as a consulting producer with the original team that created the Emmy Award winning, Super Soul Sunday on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Before Oprah, she was an executive assistant to Jann Wenner, founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, and a personal assistant to newsman and television personality Maury Povich. Early in her career, Moore worked on the North Shore in both radio and print at WFNX Radio, Rykodisc, The Marblehead Reporter, and WNSH Radio. 

On Saturday, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett will be the commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Undergraduate ceremony. Blodgett was re-elected to his fourth term in November, 2014. Since he was first elected in 2002, he has been a leader in confronting a range of issues including the heroin and the OxyContin epidemic, domestic violence, underage drinking, auto insurance fraud, and gun violence, both through prosecution and partnerships with schools, police, and community leaders.

District Attorney Blodgett has an innovative and effective approach to fighting crime. He instituted an adult drug diversion program and has rolled it out to all district courts in the county. He also expanded juvenile and youth diversion programs throughout the county. He initiated a special Gun Court session in Lynn District Court that has eliminated the backlog in gun cases in Lynn. He partnered with the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts and local police to prosecute auto insurance fraud, which has not only saved rate payers millions of dollars but has made the streets safer. He has provided extensive and valuable support to schools and colleges on the North Shore.  His office has also expanded the use of High-risk Assessment Teams to better protect victims of domestic violence and hold batterers accountable.

Blodgett currently sits on the executive committees of the Boards of the National District Attorneys Association and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He is chair of the International Treatment Court Committee of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He has served on the Board of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance since 2005. He also serves as the DA’s liaison to the state Adult Drug Court Advisory Committee. He was recently named one of America’s top ten animal defenders by the Animal Rights Defense League. He is a graduate of Peabody High School, Princeton University, and Suffolk Law School. He lives in Peabody with his wife, Judy. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Denise L. Bilodeau will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Saturday’s ceremony. 

After thirty-three years of service to Endicott College, Bilodeau retired in 2014 but continues in her roles as advisor and friend. She came to Endicott in 1981 when, as director of residence life, she was not much older than the students she served. Her ability to connect with students was recognized, and she was named associate dean and then dean of students, with all student services reporting to her.

Ms. Bilodeau’s leadership and commitment to advance the College is best hallmarked by her student-centered focus. She took leadership roles in Endicott’s transition to a four-year institution and was one of the principal authors of a proposal to the Board of Trustees, which outlined the advantages of opening Endicott to coeducation. She helped welcome the first group of male students to campus in 1994.

Promoted to vice president for student development and vice president for administration, Bilodeau later served last as vice president for special projects and College ombudsperson. In that role, she used her deep knowledge of the College, its academic programs, and its many resources to help students navigate difficulties, devise solutions – both academic and personal – and find their way to success. She resides in Hampton Falls, NH.

The Excellence in Teaching Award, voted on by the graduating class, goes to Dr. Gabrielle Watling. She is a professor of English and as the recipient of this award, Watling will serve as the faculty speaker at the Baccalaureate ceremony on Friday, May 19, and will perform the duties of the Grand Marshall at Commencement on Saturday, May 20. 

Watling came to Endicott College from Australia, via Endicott’s Mexico City campus. She has a Ph.D. in Post-Colonial fiction from James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland in Australia.  She teaches introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, British Literature II, World Literature, Gothic Literature, Honors 300, and Victorian Secrets. Her research interests include feminist literary criticism, reading history, US/World relations, and Post-Colonial literature and theory.  She has presented at many conferences, domestically and internationally, on a wide variety of topics, as well as having written many publications.