University celebrates 127th Commencement Exercises

May 20, 2023
Students posting at May 2023 undergraduate commencement
Alumnus John Honeycutt '91 delivers commencement address on May 20 2023
John Honeycutt '91 delivers the commencement address on May 20, 2023.

Fitchburg State University celebrated its 127th commencement exercises this month, awarding nearly 850 undergraduate and graduate degrees. (View and download the list of graduates.)

At the undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, May 20, alumnus John Honeycutt from the Class of 1991 and an award-winning media technology pioneer, gave the commencement address. Honeycutt described his path from being a first-generation college student at Fitchburg State to a globe-spanning career that has included time at FOX, Discovery, Google, and now as a consultant.

“Your time here in Fitchburg, and the events of the last few years, have influenced, shaped and changed you,” Honeycutt told graduates and guests assembled on the university’s main quadrangle. “Your time here has provided you with the opportunity to expand your education, grow your ambition and set new goals. Be assured that you now have the knowledge, training, and skills to define your own path and reach those new goals. I encourage you to continue to invest in yourself, while figuring out how to be comfortable being uncomfortable, try to understand what it actually takes to get it done. Along the way seek opportunities to see life from different sides of the table, but most importantly, find what feels good.”

Valedictorian Kenneth Aubuchon with President Lapidus and Provost Pat Marshall on May 20 2023
Valedictorian Kenneth R. Aubuchon, center, poses with Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus, left, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia A. Marshall.

Kenneth R. Aubuchon of Leominster gave the valedictory address. In his remarks, Aubuchon recounted the journey the Class of 2023 navigated through the global pandemic to arrive at their graduation. He thanked his family members and a supportive university community with helping him excel during his studies.

“Going through tough times gave me the motivation to pursue my goal of being top in the class,” Aubuchon said. “In addition to my friends and family, I believe that the faith I held about being able to accomplish anything I want to and actually accomplishing my goal showed me that you can achieve anything if you put your best foot forward. You can really achieve something despite hardships when you set your mind to it and give your best effort.”

The university awarded graduate degrees in a separate ceremony on Thursday, May 18. At the graduate ceremony, the Graduate Student Leadership Award was presented to Stephanie Tsacogianis of Stoneham.

In her remarks, Tsacogianis–who completed an MBA in healthcare management–discussed pursuing her career goals in sports medicine and encouraged her fellow graduates to use their newfound degrees to serve as mentors and role models.

Stephanie Tsacogianis Grad Student Leadership Award May 2023 speech
Stephanie Tsacogianis at the Graduate Commencement ceremony on May 18, 2023.

“As we embark on our professional journeys, I urge everyone to think about how they can help others,” Tsacogianis said. “Just as my mentors helped me, we all can be a source of guidance, support, and inspiration for someone else. Small acts of kindness and support, such as reviewing a friend's resume, making an introduction, or simply offering words of encouragement, can make a significant impact. We all have the power to help someone else achieve their dreams.”

University President Richard S. Lapidus presided over the ceremonies. In his own remarks, he encouraged the graduates to work hard and take calculated chances as they embark on their next steps, and to remember that optimism can be a source of hope even in challenging times.

“The reality of life is that there is always going to be contradiction and tension, but how you frame it and moderate it will be critical to better understanding yourself and allow you to become your best self,” Lapidus said. “So, take the time to put things in perspective, appreciate life and have some fun.”

The ceremonies may be viewed and downloaded at