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Graduate Commencement

Graduate Commencement | Graduate Information | Parent/Visitor Information | Photos & Video | Awards | Additional Information | Registrar's Office

Graduate Commencement is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. at the Athletics and Recreation Center, 130 North St.

President Richard S. Lapidus will be the commencement speaker.

Graduate Information

The processional will begin promptly at 6:20 p.m. Graduates are asked to arrive no later than 5:45 p.m. Volunteers will assist the graduates in lining up; each graduate will be given an index card with their name on it. Please give this card to the volunteers on the platform when you approach the stage.

A hooding will be part of the graduate ceremony, so please arrive in your cap and gown, carrying your hood over your right arm.

The video below provides valuable information for graduates. For more information, please read the commencement brochure (PDF). For a slide-by-slide transcript of the video, click here (MS Word).

Parent/Visitor Information


Doors will open for guests at 4:30 p.m. Parents and visitors do not need tickets for commencement.

Details are available in the commencement brochure (PDF).


Guests may park in all parking lots for commencement. For directions and maps, visit the campus website.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Fitchburg State University is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and medical conditions. To request accommodations, please contact Ambray Ernst in the Disabilities Services Office at (978) 665-4020 (Voice/Relay) or by email. A form to request services is available through the commencement brochure (PDF).

Photos and Video

Family and friends are encouraged to take photos and video prior to and after the ceremony. During the ceremony, access to the stage area for picture taking or videotaping by guests will be prohibited.

Graduation photography will be taken by Commencement Photos Inc. of Tewksbury.

FATV will produce DVDs and Blu-rays of the ceremony, which include both the undergraduate and graduate commencements. DVDs can be ordered for $16 and Blu-rays for $21, plus shipping. Proceeds will go to the Bob Wilson Memorial Scholarship Fund. To order, contact FATV at (978) 343-0834. A form is also available through the commencement brochure (PDF).


Contributions to the Graduate Program Award

Nancy L MurrayNancy Murray, who has been a full-time member of the Fitchburg State faculty for almost nine years, has brought energy, professionalism and leadership skills to the demanding work of fostering and transforming the university’s graduate level special education programs. Her efforts have helped the programs thrive and evolve to meet changing needs. Her connections to students, families, professionals and educational administrators in the area reflect positively on the university as a center for excellence in special education. To her colleagues and students, she is a consummate educator.

After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in special education at Fitchburg State, she joined the Fitchburg State community as an adjunct instructor more than 20 years ago. She has been a full-time member of the Education Department faculty since 2007. A year later she assumed the chair of its graduate programs in moderate disabilities. She oversaw the creation of new handbooks and guides to better align university coursework with state subject matter requirements, and to show students additional opportunities to build on their initial license to acquire additional credentials.

Building on her extensive work with students with autism, Murray initiated the process that led to the university’s behavior analyst certificate program. The program was developed in response to the high need for behavior analysts in this region, and Murray played an active role in developing the course syllabi and working with faculty members to get the program approved by the university as well as the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.

She has also helped lead the way in the university’s forward-looking evolution to online hybrid delivery of special education coursework, which is more conducive to the needs of its students. Her enthusiasm and solid experience in online teaching was instrumental to the successful transition.

Murray has chaired other graduate programs during her tenure at Fitchburg State, developing new advising materials and recruiting faculty members, and serving as a mentor. Her students praise her for the intellectually challenging and stimulating courses she teaches. Her colleagues describe her as a teacher who demonstrates depth and breadth of knowledge about disabilities and their effect on learning, about curriculum, about differentiated instruction, the use of technologies to teach, and the use of innovative assistance technologies to support others.

In recent years she worked to see the passage of the autism omnibus law, addressing the unmet needs of people with autism. She will be working with colleagues this summer to create courses that will result in new certificate opportunities for graduate students working in the field.

Murray lives with her husband, Gerry, in Leominster. The couple has four children, a son-in-law and daughter-in-law and one granddaughter.

Graduate Student Leadership Award

Ross CaputiRoss Caputi is described by his professors as an exceptional student, ambitious and disciplined in his academic pursuits. He enrolled in the Master of Arts in English Studies program at Fitchburg State in 2014 and immediately made a lasting impression on its learning community.

Caputi’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps had a profound impact on his life. Following his deployment to Iraq, he became active in antiwar efforts. His master’s thesis is entitled “The Battle for Your Hearts and Minds: The Occupation of Iraq, Information Warfare and American War Culture.” In 2013 he co-founded the Islah Reparations Project and directed and produced a documentary film entitled Fear Not the Path of Truth, which won the Changemaker award at the Traverse City Film Festival in 2015.

As a student at Fitchburg State, he asked thoughtful questions and followed up on answers with insightful probes, demonstrating strong critical inquiry skills. Praised by faculty members for his curious and incisive intellect, he was hired as graduate assistant to the English Studies graduate program and is viewed as a trusted colleague, detail-oriented and committed to helping others.

For the past year and a half he served as resident editor of the graduate journal The Falconer, where he was instrumental in guiding the publication from soliciting submissions to editing and printing. He also took the initiative to reconsider the overall submission process and devised a proposal for the procedures moving forward, demonstrating remarkable self-discipline and poise.

Caputi graduated from Boston University with a degree in linguistics and continued his academic training with a Master of Arts in linguistics from the University of Delaware.

Caputi’s academic career continues this fall when he begins his doctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in Lunenburg.

Additional Information

For more information on spring commencement, contact the Academic Affairs Office at Fitchburg State University, (978) 665-3168, or view the Registrar's site.