Perseverance. Determination. Grit.
SJC Long Island’s Class of 2020 demonstrated that and so much more while graduating in the face of a pandemic. And despite the actual commencement ceremony being postponed, St. Joseph’s College is eagerly anticipating the day when they see the 1,150 students cross the stage to celebrate their graduation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways we never thought possible,” St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., said. “Postponing our spring graduation ceremonies is one of our greatest disappointments, but we still celebrate and honor our Class of 2020 for all their wonderful accomplishments. Commencement is one of the biggest milestones in a student’s life, and we are so proud of this year’s resilient class of graduates.”
Alongside the 780 undergraduate students and 370 graduate students are undergraduate speakers Rachel Sullivan and John Davis, as well as graduate speaker Joyce Sullivan.
Rachel Sullivan earned her bachelor’s degree in religious studies and philosophy, as well as psychology with a specialty track in industrial-organizational psychology, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. She minored in mindfulness and contemplative living.
Throughout her time at St. Joseph’s, Rachel Sullivan took to heart the College’s motto: Esse non videri — “To be, not to seem” — demonstrating her understanding of social responsibility through her actions in her everyday life.
Rachel Sullivan was extremely involved in extracurricular activities at SJC Long Island, having been a part of the Orientation Team for the past two years, as well as its Planning Committee last summer.
She was also involved in the Service Circle since she was a freshman and a member of Campus Activities Board. She participated in activities like Alternative Winter Break and the Pumpkin Pie Bake-a-thon. Additionally, Sullivan was a member of the International Honor Society in Psychology Psi Chi, as well as the honor societies Theta Alpha Kappa, Gamma Tau Delta and Delta Epsilon Sigma.
Rachel Sullivan plans to pursue a graduate degree in industrial-organizational psychology, with the goal of returning to higher education, particularly as a professor — or with a role in student leadership and involvement.
Dedicated Student Veteran
Davis earned a B.S. in History with a Concentration in Adolescence Education. He graduates Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 GPA.
A student veteran, Staff Sgt. Davis is originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, and served in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2017. He was an infantry squad leader and served two combat deployments to Afghanistan. Davis was awarded numerous medals for his service.
During his time at St. Joseph’s, he has been a member of SJC Long Island’s chapter of Student Veterans of America, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society of Education, Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society and SJC’s Dean’s List.
Davis is a self-published author and was accepted into Harvard University, where he expects to major in international education.
Becoming a Leader of Service
Joyce Sullivan earned her Master of Science degree in Human Services Leadership with a GPA of 4.0.
In the presentation she prepared for commencement, Joyce Sullivan discusses the cherished relationships and bonds nurtured during her journey at St. Joseph’s College. She considers it an experience in teamwork and a source of collective strength.
During her 15 years of service in the Development Disabilities Institute, where she works as a corporate compliance specialist, Joyce Sullivan became an active member of the Employee Involvement Committee and has volunteered at many of their fundraising events.
Joyce Sullivan also organizes blood drives through the New York Blood Center for DDI three times a year. These successful blood drives have saved many lives, and they’re one of the many examples of how Joyce makes a real difference in her profession and personal life.