Students Recognized for Academic Excellence at 39th Annual Honors Convocation

May 05, 2023

This year’s 39th Annual Honors Convocation recognized 80 Assumption University students for academic excellence in their respective fields of study and received thoughtful advice from a distinguished Assumption alumnus. Students honored at the event received one of the Assumption University departmental awards, special awards, or St. Augustine scholarships.

Michael Hynes ‘89 delivered the keynote address in the presence of honored students, parents and families, faculty, staff, and friends of the university. Following his attendance at Boston College High School, where he became versed in the study of French and Spanish, Hynes enrolled at Assumption with a visible interest in communications. Most notably, he perused advanced study in French having studied abroad in France at the Universite d’Orleans during his undergraduate journey at Assumption. Graduating from Assumption University (then College) with a bachelor’s degree in both foreign languages and English in 1989, Hynes went on to receive a master’s degree in human resources from Boston University. 

Hynes’ career of over thirty years has been devoted to talent development and management. He currently serves as the senior director of human resources at the Pew Charitable Trusts, a highly respected and well-known non-profit that has conducted non-partisan research for the last 75 years in the support of the common good. 

During his return to campus, Hynes announced the establishment of his third endowed scholarship to Assumption. In his humility, he stated that he would have rather the gifts be anonymous. However, he hopes that by first articulating the value a liberal arts education, the formative experience, skills, and values that he carries with him to this day, and sharing how he gives back, that one day the future graduates in attendance may give back in “a similar sacrifice when ready”.Michael Hynes '89

Hynes’ defined the value of a liberal arts education in his address by expressing his personal experiences as a graduate of Assumption University that propelled him into a career of success such as his study abroad experience and the University’s rigorous academic curriculum. In respect and admiration for the “deep historical roots and culturally significant beginnings of Assumption”, Hynes began his remakes in French. 

When Hynes’ came back to campus for the honors convocation, he stopped in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for a moment of prayer and reflection on the University’s motto, “Until Christ be formed in you.” He said he was reminded of an Assumption student’s formation to follow them far beyond this time. He stated, “The education, skills, experiences, and spiritual growth that we encounter during our time at Assumption give us the ability to both broaden and deepen our relationship with God for the rest of our lives.” He continued, “Therein, I believe, is the greatest value of a Catholic, liberal arts education.”

Pew Charitable Trusts work to solve the challenging problems facing the world through knowledge and data and it is Hynes’ role to support the people who lead this work while managing the internal communications. Acknowledging that his career path has been “fairly straightforward”, Hynes says that he is often “surprised when he asked if he uses his Assumption education in English and foreign languages. He stated, “I think I have done more than simply use my Assumption education; I have built a meaningful and rewarding career upon it.”

Hynes went on to tell two stories. The first was when a colleague from his company’s Paris office came to the United States. During a meeting, this French colleague complimented Hynes on his language skills, saying it was impossible to speak so well from “studying alone.” Hynes soon realized that he would be unable to satisfy the curiosity of his colleague without divulging more details about his study abroad experience. Hynes’ pointed out that, “strong academics, coupled with equally strong experiences can be a differentiator,” and at Assumption “we have both.” 

The second example Hynes’ articulated was the need for critical thinking skills that are cultivated through liberal arts studies. The global environment is one major area of focus for the Pew Charitable Trusts, where the best and brightest are hired for research. These researchers are needed to dive into the ocean, understand what they see, and “count the fish”, according to Hynes. “But beyond that we need people who can come up from the depths of the ocean and tell us what they saw.” He goes on to say that these people must then be able to communicate the “technical jargon” of a research paper into “language that legislators can use to write effective environmental policies,” or “share what they saw in the ocean in a meaningful and engaging story for the general public.”  He stated that these people are “the ones who can lead the current work and the future of the organization – come from liberal arts colleges and universities.”

To conclude his remarks, Hynes references the famous line by Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” He follows this with a brief note about the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, who was captured and imprisoned by Nazis in the 1940s. Hynes stated, “Levinas suggests that we are aware of our existence, not due to our own thinking, but because of our awareness of others and their needs. It is through our encounters and experiences with other human beings that we awaken to our own existence and move beyond our own thinking and self-centeredness.” He continued, “I think a liberal arts education gives us the knowledge, skills, and experiences that we need to hold these two separate and competing philosophies simultaneously within ourselves so that we may live healthy, productive, and vibrant lives. Further, a Catholic liberal arts education teaches us how to fuse these two philosophies within ourselves and to live healthy, productive, vibrant lives in service to others and to God.”

View photos from the event here.

Academic Major Awards

Emily Armstrong, Mathematics 
Samuel Baker, Theology
Rebecca Benjamin, Biology with a Concentration in Pre-Clinical Health Professions
Johenny Bisono-Martinez, International Business 
Grace Crockett, Health Sciences with a Concentration in Pre-Occupational Therapy
Sebastiano D’Angelo, Organizational Communication
John Davis, Data Analytics
Brenda Delgado, Communication and Media
Haleigh Dobeck, Elementary Education
Erin Dooley, Health Sciences with a Concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy
Lauren Ferguson, Health Sciences 
Kelly Fitzgerald, Global Studies
Kelly Fitzgerald, Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development
Victoria Freitas, Graphic Design
Timothy Gangemi, Marketing
Maria Gaughan, Neuroscience with a Cellular Path
Mary Gillette, Accounting
Katherine Gilligan, Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies with a Concentration in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Evan Gray, Cybersecurity
Teresa Guerra, Political Science
Ashleigh Hughes, Biology
Sarah Iacoviello, Chemistry
Rebecca Jalbert, Finance
Kelly Knutelski, English
Joel Kosovrasti, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology
Emily LaFond, Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies
Aine Lapalme, Biology with a Concentration in Neuroscience & Behavior
Brian Leger, Computer Science
Gabriella Lindhurst, Music
Natalie Mazzini, History
Tasneem Mohammed, Middle/Secondary Education
Tasneem Mohammed, Spanish
Sydney Morse, Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies with a Concentration in Working with Children and Adolescents in a Community Setting
Anna Mullen, Psychology with a Concentration in Mental Health and Pre-Clinical Counseling
Patrick Otto, Economics
Patrick Otto, Psychology
Wandzia Prytko, Marketing with a Concentration in Digital Marketing
Brady Ryan, Environmental Science 
Kali Scirocco, Criminology
Faith Somody, Sociology
Victoria Williams, Management
Braedon Wood, Nursing
Danting Zhu, Actuarial Science

Augustine Awards

Class of 2024
Sam Baker 
Kaitlyn Calnan
Elizabeth Cappelli
Kate Carlson
Emily Fasteson
Catherine Hurlburt
Bridgette Kline
Maria Lepak
Jackie Li
Katelyn Pickman
Julia Tardugno
Kaitlyn Shea
Caleb White

Class of 2025
Talia Caloggero
Mary Kate Hamilton
Kaitlin Merson
Anna Murphy
Julia Walsh

Special Awards

Noelia Amadis, The David L. Christianson Award for the Study of Foreign Languages 
Kyra Belden, Mary Whiton Calkins Award in Psychology 
Johenny Bisono-Martinez, Award for Minor in French
Kassandra Caprentier, The George E. and Sarah Denommé Scholarship 
Elizabeth Cormier, Shirley Thompson Scholarship in the Visual Arts 
Isabela Ferullo, The Leo and Madeleine Remillard Scholarship for the Study of French
Kelly Fitzgerald, History and Citizenship Award
Isabella Guarino, Award for Minor in Italian Studies
Teresa Guerra, Michele and Donald D’Amour Humanitas Award
Sarah Iacoviello, The Lyceum Award
Kelly Knutelski, Women’s Studies
Brian Leger, Fr. Richard Brunelle Memorial Award in Computer Science 
John Morales, The Joseph E. Sheerin Merit Prize in the Study of Classical Languages and Literatures 
Kathleen Moran, Community Service-Learning Student of the Year
Julie Mughole, The Cynthia Courtney and Adelard F. Landry Scholarship in French Studies
Georgia Pokropowicz, The Omer and Lauren Boivin Scholarship in French or Foreign Languages
William Roberts, Dr. Eugene W. Byrnes Scholarship in the Natural Sciences 
Kathryn Robinson, Colleen Ritzer Memorial Award
Claudio Rocha, Ray Marion Special Award in World History
Thomas Ross, History and Citizenship Award
Samuel Roy, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Minor Award
Samuel Roy, Paul Ziegler Award in European History
Vincent Sasso, The James McCarthy Scholarship for the Study of Economics or Global Studies
Patrick Sedgewick, Luca Pacioli Award for Achievement in Accounting
Christian Surette, Ken Moynihan Special Award in American History
Julia Tardugno, Special Award in Public History
Gabrielle Willett, William James Award in Psychology

Ray Marion Award

Johenny Bisono-Martinez 
Sarah Iacoveillo

Donec Formetur Christus Presidential Award

Julie Dwyer