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Flagler College Graduates Encouraged to “Be the Change” at the 2022 Commencement Ceremony

May 13, 2022

Family members beamed with pride and the air was filled with excitement as more than 500 graduates processed into the St. Augustine Amphitheater to the familiar sound of pomp and circumstance on Monday, May 9th.

Flagler College celebrated graduates on track to complete their degrees in Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer of 2022 in a single ceremony, the largest in the College’s history and the first in more than two years without COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Students, families, and friends in attendance were encouraged by Flagler College President John Delaney to “treasure this day, this moment – [ I hope] that you will value it, savor it, and appreciate it.”

President Delaney at the podium addressing the Commencement attendees

President Delaney at the podium addressing the Commencement attendees

Delaney shared an uplifting message about the importance of valuing the relationships made during students’ time at Flagler.  “You may not always remember what you learned in each class, but you will remember the people who shared this time with you. I encourage you to nourish these relationships as your experiences take you in different directions. As your lives grow more complex and more demands are placed on you, remember to carve time out for your Flagler friends. These are the people who will be there for the joy and the grief and there is no substitution for your shared intimacies. I know you will all do great things – but you will do even better things if you are able to harness the power of your friends, family, and community.”

Elementary Education major Samantha Jo Calascione was selected among many worthy candidates to make remarks on behalf of the class of 2022.  Samantha, who served as a Resident Advisor and Vice-Chair of Public Relations and Secretary within the Student Government Association during her time at Flagler, shared a speech centered around the concept of change.

Samantha Jo Calascione makes remarks on behalf of the class of 2022

Samantha Jo Calascione makes remarks on behalf of the class of 2022

“I can promise you that there is one thing [that is constant]. CHANGE. It almost seems deceptive for something so erratic to be so consistent. We have changed schools, cities, countries, majors, minors, and for some of us even something as simple as the color of our hair. Our minds have changed. We perceive things differently, because of the experiences we have had. The last four years here have been laden with change.”

The class of 2022 is one that has spent much of their college career during the COVID-19 pandemic. The atmosphere of constant change is one that has no doubt shaped them.

Despite the constant change, Samantha’s message was one of hope and inspiration.  The Flagler Family has remained strong, and our core values have prepared the class of 2022 well for the future.

“Today, May 9th, 2022, I look out to the crowd and see an extra-ordinary, extraordinary, family. The Flagler Family. The initial reason I fell in love with this school, was the moment I stepped foot on its breathtaking campus over a decade ago. I see a family who supported and still supports one another through all the changes the past has presented us with and that the future will inevitably bring. A family from all walks of life, who will be embarking on their own individual journeys following this ceremony…

… Looking to the future, expect change. Embrace it. Our Flagler legacy began the moment we inhabited this campus and community. The first dining hall meal we ate, the class we attended, and the friend we made was just the beginning. Acting as anchors for change, the four core values held by Flagler College; Transformative Learning, Respectful and Inclusive Community, Citizenship with Integrity, and Thoughtful Stewardship embolden all students, and members of the College, to strive for excellence., explore new endeavors, and be faced with a whole new world of challenges.”

Graduates were left with a challenge from Ms. Calascione; “I leave it to you, the Flagler College Class of 2022, to be the change.”

With the speeches complete, cheers, tears, and camera flashes filled the Amp as each student’s name was called and they received their diploma.

As is the tradition at commencement, as they exited the stage, each graduate was handed a silver railroad spike by Flagler Alumni Association President Jeff Garrison, ’06.  As a symbol of Henry Flagler's legacy, the spike represents the student’s college education as the first spike in their own legacy!

A table holding hundreds of silver railroad spikes

A table holding hundreds of silver railroad spikes

Among the graduates on Monday evening were five students graduating with their master’s degree in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  Led by Director, Dr. Jennifer Catalano, the program trains students in professional education, elementary pedagogy, and education of the deaf and hard of hearing. The program offers a fast-track option, which allows students to begin taking courses for their master’s degree while in the undergraduate program, saving them both time and money.  Among the 2022 master’s degree graduates was Ms. Sasha Pabis. Sasha is the first student to begin and complete the Fast Track Master's program in Deaf Education.

five students Students graduating with their master’s degree in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

five students Students graduating with their master’s degree in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Additional Commencement 2022 Photos.

Flagler College’s Public Administration Degree (PAD) program conferred degrees to 19 students during their commencement ceremony held on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in the Lewis Auditorium.   Designed for working professions in the community, the PAD program prepares students in the areas of management, finance, human resources, ethics, public policy, and grant writing. For photos from the ceremony, click here.

Flagler College Tallahassee held its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2022, at 10 am in the Turner Auditorium on the Tallahassee Community College campus.  After receiving an inspiring message from Florida College System Chancellor Kathryn Hebda, 90 graduates received their degrees. For photos from the ceremony, click here.


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