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Class of 2024 Honored at ӣƵ’s Annual Rose Ceremony

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On Friday, May 10, graduates from (TAWC), ӣƵ’s online program for adult women, were honored at the University’s annual Rose Ceremony. The Rose Ceremony is a 25-year-old ӣƵ tradition, which invites TAWC graduates to the Longmeadow campus for a ceremony and reception, before the school’s official commencement event, to celebrate the completion of their degrees and to acknowledge the dedication, focus, and support that propelled their educational journeys. 


At the Rose Ceremony, each graduate is presented with a rose and invited to dedicate it to the people, experiences, and lessons that helped them persevere to graduation. Ebony Cuttino spoke eloquently of the loss, gratitude, and inner determination that led to this day. “This is for my son, August, who is sitting here watching me. I’m setting an example for him and for my family,” she stated. “I also dedicate it to myself and to God for allowing me to have faith in myself and to believe that I can keep going.” 


While the majority of TAWC students are locally based, this year’s ceremony brought graduates from Argentina, Texas, Illinois and Florida to Longmeadow to celebrate the completion of their college degrees. This year, 210 women, the majority of whom are first-generation college students, graduated as part of the class of 2024. 


“There is so much pride and joy during all of our graduation events, but the Rose Ceremony is special,” said ӣƵ’s president Sandra Doran, JD. “These learners exhibit remarkable grit and grace. For many, the road to graduation has been long, busy, and demanding, and these women never gave up. They earned their degrees while parenting, working, and tending to so many competing responsibilities. You can’t help but be inspired by their words of wisdom, encouragement, and resilience. It is an honor to honor them.” 


As Kerri-Lynn Tishy thanked her neighbors, her husband, and her daughter, she captured the essence of The American Women’s College and the enduring goals of its students. ”My daughter, Kelsi, is my hero. She underwent open heart surgery last year, and she is so brave and resilient, and I wanted to show her that her mother is just the same,” Tishy stated. “I want to make sure that she knows that we're breaking generational barriers. I was a first-generation college student, and I want to make sure that she's next.” 

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