WILLIMANTIC, CT - More than 1,250 Eastern Connecticut State University students received their diplomas in the 2018-19 academic year. Eastern's commencement ceremony occured May 21 at the XL Center in Hartford.
Among the graduates was Collin Russell of Sandwich. Russell graduated in Fall 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education.
More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor's degree. As Connecticut's only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 160 of 169 towns in the state, with approximately 85 percent of graduates staying in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.
Marilynn "Lynn" Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, was the commencement speaker at the ceremony. She congratulated students on their achievements and gave them words of encouragement. "Allow yourself the faith to 'dream ahead' as you embrace the next chapter in your journey," she said. "Your education has just begun, as you have 'birthed' a career that will only grow and mature over time."