Elms College held its 88th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the MassMutual Center, Springfield.

Photo of Kaitlin Bown '19, a CSD major

Kaitlin Bowen ’19

Communication sciences and disorders major
Attending Bridgewater State University for her MS in speech-language pathology.

“My time at Elms was spent participating in a compassionate community. I learned an immense amount in my respective field, but also grow so much as a person from the support and love provided to me by the Elms community.”

Photo of nursing major Katherine Casado '19

Katherine Casado ’19

Nursing major
Pursuing a career in nursing after taking the NCLEX.

“We just form these deep bonds that I think will go beyond nursing school. That’s one of the things that I really value from my experience here at Elms. It’s not only the academics, but also the chance to meet amazing people and keep those connections strong.” Watch Katherine’s video about nursing at Elms.

Photo of Hussein '19 and Abdullah Karam '19

Hussein Karam ’19 and Abdullah Karam ’19

Chemistry and biology double majors
Both pursuing their PharmD degrees at WNEU.

“Elms College gave us more than what we expected. We gained a valuable education and were involved in many major related activities. Elms prepared us well for an incredible career path.” — Hussein Karam

Photo of Nakia Mabin '19, a math and biology double major

Nakia Mabin ’19

Mathematics and biology double major
Attending MCPHS’s accelerated nursing program; pursuing her MS in mathematics.

“My advisors here just kept pushing me and pushing me. I think that Elms did a great job.” Read more about how studying chess, playing basketball, and working as class treasurer benefited Nakia’s experience at Elms.

Photo of Sarah Nicoliello '19

Sarah Nicoliello ’19

Early childhood education and art double major
Pursuing a career in teaching (K-2).

“I want my students to see art as not only another learning tool but as a way of expressing themselves.” Watch Sarah’s video about creating art at Elms.

Laura Greenough '19, a social work major

Laura Greenough ’19

Social work major
Joining McMahon Elementary School as an adjustment counselor; pursuing her MSW.

“My whole education here has been a transformative experience for me. It’s been the best time of my life, my time here at Elms.” Learn more about Laura’s fieldwork practicum with a local elementary school.

Photo of sport management major Shaquille Robinson '19

Shaquille Robinson ’19

Sport management major
Joining Major League Soccer as an Event Production Assistant; pursuing his MBA.

“I had a great experience at Elms College. I met a lot of great people who were welcoming since my first day. I also had great professors who worked with me one-on-one and wanted me to be successful throughout their courses. Elms College provided me with the full college experience and support I needed. ” Read more about Shaquille’s internship with MLS.

Photo of Andrew Zulch '19, a biology and chemistry double major

Andrew Zulch ’19

Biology and chemistry double major
Pursuing a career in environmental science.

“The fact that they have so many opportunities for undergraduate research was definitely a top reason why I came here.” Read more about how Andrew discovered a passion for environmental science at Elms.

Chey Charvis '19, a criminal justice major

Chey Charvis ’19

Criminal justice major
Taking the Court Officer Exam; pursuing her interpreter’s certification and MBA.

“Elms is an amazing college with a lot to offer. I’m so happy that I was able to grow and have experiences here.”

Photo of Chris Soderberg '19, an accounting and management double major

Chris Soderberg ’19

Accounting and management double major
Joining Meyers Brothers Kalicka as a first year audit associate.

“Not only did I get to pursue my career, but I also got to experience four years of playing a sport I love. That’s the great thing about Elms. They give you the opportunity to do athletics, but they know that academics come first.” Read more about Chris’s experience completing two accounting internships.

Photo of Reilly McQueston '19, a nursing major

Reilly McQueston ’19

Nursing major
Joining the Nurse Residency Program at Baystate Children’s Hospital’s; taking the NCLEX.

“They hold very high standards for all of their students. But, that being said, when I graduate and become an entry-level nurse, I know that I will be prepared, I know that I will take great care of my patients, and that is thanks to all of the faculty and staff at Elms.” Watch Reilly’s video about majoring in nursing at Elms.

Photo of Zach Tassinari '19

Zach Tassinari ’19

Computer science and computer information technology & security double major
Moving to Boston to pursue a career as an application developer.

“My time at Elms was extremely positive. My professors challenged me and inspired me to rise above in my academic achievements. I’ve made friends here who have left an indelible mark on me. Even though I transferred here in my third year of school, Elms quickly became my home and my proving ground. It will always be a place I look back fondly on.”

Photo of nursing major Vanessa Vurno '19

Vanessa Vurno ’19

Nursing major
Entering the Graduate Nurse Residency Program at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; taking the NCLEX this summer.

“Nursing is such a challenging profession, but I’m up for that challenge. I have the passion and the drive to take care of those who are in need of healthcare.” Read more about Vanessa’s experiences as a successful student athlete at Elms.

Commencement Speaker

Lyons and his brothers founded Blackstone Medical Inc. in 1996, and built it into a true Pioneer Valley success story; the company was even named a “model business” by the Romney administration for creating local jobs in the high-tech arena. By the time Blackstone Medical was acquired by Orthofix International in 2006, it was the world’s largest privately held spinal implant company, and had introduced more than 20 instrument and implant systems throughout the U.S. and in over 30 countries.

Lyons majored in in mechanical and materials engineering at the University of Connecticut and earned his master of science in biomechanical engineering from the Hartford Graduate Center, in affiliation with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A highly trained engineer, Lyons used his degrees to perfect product development as well as manufacturing processes, and earned several U.S. patents.

Prior to forming Blackstone Medical Inc., Lyons served as chairman, president, and CEO of Brimfield Precision Inc., a medical device contract manufacturing business. During his manufacturing career, he became a founding partner in an orthopedic development company that later merged into the Orthopedic Products Group of Johnson & Johnson. He also was a founding member of the board of directors of Exactech Inc., a public company specializing in orthopedic products. Locally, he was a founder of Mechtech of Western Massachusetts, a nonprofit machining apprenticeship training company.

Lyons continues to serve as a consultant to the medical device manufacturing industry and as an investor in medical device startup companies.

As philanthropists, Lyons and his wife, Cynthia, who is the chair of the board of trustees at Elms, are focused on supporting local educational projects, medical research and cancer care projects, and programs that benefit military families. They have donated to many important causes in the Pioneer Valley area, including the Town of Wilbraham tornado relief fund, Mercy Medical Center’s Sister Caritas Cancer Center, and Elms College.

Lyons will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony.