Hooding Ceremony 2015 Speakers

Champlain College Hooding

Champlain College 12th Hooding and Commencement
May 15, 2015 at 10 a.m., Perry Hall, Champlain College, Burlington, Vt.

VIDEO: Watch the speeches and hooding ceremony


Peter Stern WelcomeWhat a beautiful day to be celebrating with all of you all that you have accomplished. I am Peter Stern, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Champlain College. It is an honor to welcome fellow trustees, administrators, staff, and faculty; and the soon-to-be graduates, their families and friends; to the Master's Degree Hooding and Commencement ceremony.

This is the 12th time in the 137 year history of the College that we gather to recognize graduates of the Master's degree programs.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I congratulate the 140 students graduating and completing graduate degrees at Champlain College. I am delighted to welcome the 86 graduates who are participating today.

Finally, I also commend the members of the Champlain College community whose vision for graduate education at Champlain has become a thriving reality, as represented by the accomplishments of these fine candidates.

Today we honor these students with a hooding ceremony and the conferring of their master's degrees. Dr. Laurie Quinn, our Provost, will later explain the significance of this traditional ceremony.

We take great pride in watching you, the members of the Class of 2015, become graduates. We extend to each of you our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous future. And we look forward to following you in the paths you take as you proceed in life.

I know the Class of 2015 joins me in expressing our heartfelt appreciation to all of you who have supported, mentored, and sacrificed in order to make this day a reality.

As an institution with a long history, we are grateful to those who came before us, and we are wiser from what we have learned.

We must now embrace our role as leaders and strive to make our world a better place.

To the Champlain College Class of 2015 - Congratulations!


President Donald J. Laackman introduces Guido Zucconi 

It is my pleasure to introduce you to our Class of 2015 student speaker, Guido Zucconi. Guido is about to receive his Master of Science in Law degree.

Guido Zucconi is the Assistant Vice President of Congressional Affairs for the Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Institute. Guido has also worked on Capitol Hill for six years. Prior to his degree at Champlain College, Guido received his B.A. in History from Loyola College in Maryland. Please join me in welcoming Guido Zucconi to the stage.

Good Morning.

Every commencement speech begins with thanks to the President, the Dean and our hardworking Professors. But this time, I have to thank my wife, my children and, of course my parents. Lauren, Devin, Anna, and Julia, thank you for putting up with me these past two years. You put up with me stressed out, cranky, disappearing to the public library on a Saturday morning or, worse, hopped on Red Bull as you all went to bed and I went to do homework.

Guido Zucconi '15And thank you to my parents who urged me to investigate Champlain College after a banner ad appeared on the Washington Post's website. Deep down inside they knew that my academic career was not destined to end at a frat party with a lampshade on my head working on a massive hangover on graduation weekend.

And for my children in the audience, daddy is just kidding, seriously.

But, of course, I have to thank Champlain College. I must thank President Laackman, for the opportunity to speak today, which I hope he does not currently regret, Professor Perriello and Professor Myers for creating such an incredible learning experience.

By the way, President Laackman, you have some wonderful staff working for you and I will gladly share my honoraria with them. Guys, the check is in the mail.

Personally, I am still amazed that I get to wear this crazy looking get up and receive my Master's degree today. I hope that you all feel the same level of amazement at yourselves. I know we all had days filled with doubt. Days that we wanted to simply close our books and walk away. But now, no one else can ever doubt that you can do it. Because, today you can tell people you have a Master's degree. Today you officially did it!

Looking out at my fellow graduates, I can see that I am certainly in no place to give anyone career or life advice. Our experiences have shaped who we are today and shaped our view of the world. These views, as varied as they are, are what brought us to this place. They brought us to Champlain; they brought us together through the power of an amazing education available online and, ultimately, brought us to this ceremony today.

So how do so many disparate views bring us to find a common place like Champlain? All I really ever knew about Vermont was that they like to ski, they were very environmentally conscious and hippies love this place! By the way, I'm still pretty sure all these are true but I digress.

Often, I would talk with my wife about the discussions I had with my classmates, fascinated by their perspectives, touched by the personal stories, and other times simply embarrassed at the blessed life we had compared to the challenges they faced.

But the conversation always led us to the same conclusion, how did these folks end up at a tiny professionally focused school in upper New England.

The best answer we could come up with was, value. Yes, often times we consider value within a financial construct. But putting aside monetary issues for just a moment, the value I am talking about is not dollars and cents.

These past few years were about our individual value. These past few years were about investing in ourselves. When we decided that we were worth investing in, we enrolled in Champlain College. We were hundreds of little Steve Jobs and in our mind, our career, our future were little iPhone concepts. We knew that with the right investment, with the right nurturing and development we could be successful. Hugely successful!

So we invested and developed ourselves. We placed that value in our careers and future value in the job market. We all knew the incredible value we hold, but we chose to enhance that value through our continued education.
The value of a Champlain degree, whether in Fine Arts or in Law, is demonstrated by the value you feel today. The value your friends, family and colleagues now place in you because, hey, you have a Master's Degree. I am impressed with you, they're impressed with you, and, you should be impressed by you.

You did the work. You stayed up late; you woke up early; you put in the long hours; the very long hours. You invested your time, your stress, and your family's time into increasing your value. You proved to yourself that you could do this. You proved to everyone around you that this crazy idea of getting a Master's degree was doable.

And now here we are. It's time to cash in on that investment. I wish you all luck in whatever the next steps of your journey may be. But I urge you to take that value, that equity that you built in yourself and show the rest of the world what it means to be rich. Not just that lakeside mansion you have been eyeballing, but that wealth that comes from confidence.

You know what a daunting challenge looks like, you know how to overcome it piece-by-piece and, best of all, you know you can do it.

Congratulations to all of you. Never forget to be proud of yourselves! And, especially, do not forget to thank the people that put up with you for the past few years.

Alumni Speaker Welcome
President Laackman introduces Angela King '13

Angela, King is a kindergarten and first grade teacher at The Bellwether School in Williston, Vt., where she has taught for 12 years. Angie's believes that children should be engaged in constructing their own understanding of the world around them, while simultaneously building meaningful relationships and finding out who they are as people and learners.
Angie received her Bachelor's Degree in both Elementary Education and English from St. Michael's College, and completed her M.Ed. at Champlain College in December 2013. Angie owns a local photography business and work has been featured at area businesses and used in promotional material for non-profit organizations.
Please join me in welcoming Angie King.

Angela King ‘13

Angela King '13President Laackman, Distinguished members of the Champlain College Faculty, Honored guests, and all you stunning Master's Degree Candidates,

First and foremost, congratulations. All those late nights and long weekend have paid off and you are all sitting here awaiting your hoods and beaming with pride. In just a little bit you will be eating cake and demanding all your friends and loved ones refer to you as "Master." Go ahead. You earned it.

There were so many things that I took away from my time at Champlain. The courses I took were rich, the content engaging and the influence it had on my career was palpable. But some of the things I learned I had never anticipated when I started my journey. There were unexpected nuggets here and there that surprised and even shocked me and so I thought I would share them with you today. Who knows, maybe they resonate with you, too.

13 Things that I Learned from Graduate School that were Never on a Syllabus

  1. The old-school tricks of changing your font size and your margins on a paper like I used to do in undergrad won't work. Master's Degree professors are hip to these tricks. Don't even try it.
  2. Someone actually expects you to pay student loans back. Like pretty immediately. And with real money.
  3. There is no quantity of coffee that, when consumed, will make a person spontaneously combust. See, I took it intravenously in my grad school days of working a full-time job, a part-time job and raising a child. Depending on the class size at Champlain next year, I might purchase stock in Starbucks.
  4. Only masochists love APA citation. It's like the Rubik's Cube of writing a paper. There are no sources in the history of the world that can be perfectly cited using APA. Just put some periods in-between stuff and say that it was published in New York. You'll be fine.
  5. It could be quite therapeutic to yell colorful language at my computer when Canvas was not working properly. Or when participating in the scavenger hunt that was finding an uploaded document on there.
  6. The semicolon was created solely for people seeking advanced degrees. I mean, c'mon. When do you ever see people using a semicolon in the real world? Never. Why? Because it's the pretentious punctuation mark. When I used it in an essay, my professors highlighted it with the notation, "YES!" When I used it on Facebook, three people unfriended me.
  7. Rewarding yourself with M&Ms for every page of essay written throughout your coursework is delicious and not recommended by medical professionals
  8. At some point during the whole degree-earning process you will realize with shocking clarity that your relationship with grad school has become co-dependent and unhealthy. You'll find that grad school is setting unrealistic expectations of you and refuses to listen to reason. It wants your attention around the clock and yet can't be bothered to send flowers or remember your birthday. Sure, it'll promise a vacation, but that doesn't mean Cabo with a margarita. All that really means is that it will not have an assignment due but it will tell you what your reading will be for the next week. So manipulative.
  9. I do, in fact, love academic rigor and educated discourse. I came to pursuing my degree in my 30s and I anticipated that much of the time it would feel laborious and I would be disconnected to the learning at hand. The opposite was true. Most days I relished the chance to discuss my profession with people who were as deeply invested in it as I was. 
  10. Champlain College has some of the most educated and invested professors working there. Not only were they well read on the very subjects they were teaching about, they were also directly involved in the profession I worked in. Their ability to speak about their own experiences and learning only enriched our experience as learners and helped to illustrate that teaching requires a similar vulnerability and openness as learning does.
  11. I learned that all education should be driven by the learner and supported through the masterful guidance of the professor. While the content of what I was exposed to at Champlain rested on the choices of the faculty, their trust in their students allowed me to pursue that content in the direction that made for a much more meaningful learning experience.
  12. My grad school experience would be something I would miss very much. Okay, well not instantly. I remember my first weekend as a free woman. It was great. I realized my husband hadn't left me...that my daughter had magically turned four years old and that I was pregnant with a second child. Imagine my surprise. I relished our time as a family again and felt proud of all that I had accomplished. Then, six months later, I realized that my time at Champlain had been profoundly impactful on me. I referenced my textbooks when setting up my new classroom and called friends from the program to discuss meeting a student's need or building curriculum. Champlain College became more than a place to earn a degree. It became a guidepost for me and I am in debt to the faculty and staff for creating such a place where teaching content goes hand-in-hand with shaping wonderfully diverse human beings.
  13. I am capable...YOU are capable...of greatness. Let's be honest, finishing a Master's Degree program and not critically injuring anyone in the process is a feat in and of itself. But beyond that, there is something in each of us, some immeasurable potential, which has yet to be seen.

Champlain awakened in me a sense of possibility that I had not noticed before and also the deep yearning to have an impact. I am certain that all of us will make a mark on the people we meet, the professions we have and the places we live. When I say we are capable of greatness I do not mean just one moment of great. I think we are capable of constant greatness, a never-ending crescendo of awesome that ignites fires and inspires others. I cannot wait to see what we all become.

In closing, I hope you all know that I was telling the truth about paying loans back and urge you to use semi-colons sparingly. And I wholeheartedly believe you are already on your way to greatness just by being here today. So, congratulations, enjoy the day, and "May the force be with you."


Provost Dr. Laurie Quinn

Dr. Laurie QuinnHi, my name is Laurie Quinn and I am the Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

One of the most obvious and colorful aspects of academic ceremonies, like graduation, is the wearing of academic regalia. There are three main components of academic regalia: the robe or gown, the cap, and the hood.

In order to understand the significance of this hooding ceremony, let me explain a bit about hoods. The academic hood is worn over the graduation gown as part of full academic regalia at graduation and commencement ceremonies. Traditionally, only master and doctoral candidates wear hoods. You can determine the type of graduate degree by the length and design of the hood; the master's hood is slightly smaller than the doctoral hood.

The colors on the hood represent two things. The velvet trim represents a discipline, or field of study. For instance, you will notice that the velvet trim on the hoods we will be placing over our students' gowns is drab for Business Administration, Digital Investigation Management, Healthcare Management & Managing Innovation & Information Technology, purple for Law, gold for Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies, brown for Fine Arts and light blue for Education.

The color of the field and the color of the stripes, or chevrons, on the hood represent the school colors. The field of the Champlain master's hood is blue.

Thus, we get to the symbolic meaning of the hooding ceremony. When these hoods are placed on the shoulders of these soon-to-be graduates, the colors and design of the hood visibly represent both the discipline of the degree they have earned as well as the school that granted their degree.

The pageantry and color of our regalia and ceremony reminds us of our heritage and connection to the ancient scholars of renaissance Europe.

However, the Master's degrees that we are celebrating today are a relatively modern educational innovation. The first Master's degree was awarded in the United States in 1850 and it wasn't until the 1940s and 1950s when Master's degrees were fully embraced by American colleges and universities. Since that time, Master's degrees have represented an interim accomplishment for those headed toward doctoral degrees or as professional development degrees that evoke advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit champlain.edu.