Skip to main content

Van Loan School at Endicott College Holds First Separate Commencement Ceremony; First PhD Students to Graduate

May 15, 2017

The evening of Thursday May 18th marks a special occasion and two firsts in the history of Endicott College.

Starting at 6:00 p.m., the Van Loan School at Endicott for the first time will host a commencement ceremony exclusively for its adult education students who are graduating with associate’s, bachelors, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Since the school for graduate and professional studies at Endicott first opened in 2003, the commencement ceremony has been combined with that of the traditional day school. This year, the College made the decision to forego the combined ceremony in favor of shorter events more personalized to their audiences. Therefore, a separate evening commencement will be held to celebrate the accomplishments of nearly 600 students who completed their degree programs at the Van Loan School this year.

Making this year’s commencement celebration even more momentous is the fact that it will include the college’s first graduating PhD students. Six students from the PhD program in Applied Behavior Analysis will be celebrated at commencement, after having successfully defending their dissertations in April. They are the first students to ever receive PhDs from a college north of Boston.

Of the first six PhD graduates, three have already secured full-time faculty appointments and the other three are employed in senior positions in human service agencies. 

“As the Director of the program and speaking for the entire faculty, we are all very honored to have been part of this remarkable process,” said Michael F. Dorsey, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Professor of Education. 

In addition, for only the second year ever, five students will receive doctor of education degrees (EdD) from the Van Loan School for their successful completion of the PreK-12 Leadership program.

“I am very proud of the students graduating with their EdD in Educational Leadership, PreK-12. They worked very hard to complete this rigorous program and now they are not only transformative leaders in their field, they are truly scholars that will continue to represent the core mission of excellence of Endicott College,” said Dr. Lynne Celli, Associate Dean of Graduate Education Programs and Director of the EdD program in Educational Leadership.

“We are delighted to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of all of our graduates,” said Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Mary Huegel. “It’s exciting to commemorate a robust and growing academic community that contributes to the economic and social health of Massachusetts’ North Shore and well beyond.”

The PhD graduates and their dissertations in Applied Behavior Analysis include:

  • Cheryl Davis of Northborough, MA: The Effects of Interactive Lectures on Student Performance in an Asynchronous Learning Environment;


  • Ian Melton of South Bend IN: Increasing exercise time and evaluating the health benefits of acute bouts of exercise in children with autism spectrum disorders;


  • Lorraine Otte of Wayne, NJ: Examining the effects of point-of-view video modeling on the acquisition of joint attention in children with autism;


  • Bryan Blair of Boston, MA: Using Stimulus Equivalence Based Instruction to Teach Visual Analysis of Graphs;


  • Solandy Forte of Milford, CT: An evaluation of generalization and maintenance outcomes for a competency-based training;


  • Elizabeth Nulty of Cheshire, CT: The Program Assessment Guide: A Call for Quality Measures.

 The EdD graduates and their dissertations in PreK-12 Leadership include:

  • Lucas Donahue, Worcester, MA: Perceptions of Teachers Enrolled in a Teacher Mentoring Program with Regard to Professional Practice and Retention;


  • Kevin Forrand, East Bridgewater, MA: Perceptions of Special Education Staff at The England Center for Children on their Shared Experience of Providing Direct care to students diagnosed with Autism as it relates to the benefits of a specialized aquatics program;


  • Brittany Puleo, Chelsea, MA: Perceptions of Licensed Special Education Staff on Their Shared Experiences of Providing a Direct Service to an Early Childhood Aged Student in Grades K-2 Identified with an Emotional Disability;


  • Charmie (Snetter) Curry, Boston, MA: Perceptions of Secondary Christian Educators on the Role of Faith in their Pedagogy and in their Approach to Cultivating Student-Teacher Relationships.

Admission to the commencement ceremony are by invitation only. For more information, please call 978-232-2199 or visit