With his deployment to Africa looming, Springfield College senior Joe Parmigiane, a CE3 (construction electrician petty officer 3rd class) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, knew that he would be unable to attend graduation ceremonies on May 14—the second time service to the country kept him from receiving a diploma with his classmates.
So college officials, including President Mary-Beth A. Cooper, brought a surprise mini-graduation ceremony to him instead. Just before the start of his senior capstone business management class in strategic management, Parmigiane donned a black graduation cap and gown and walked into the classroom filled with fellow students and business faculty, still unsure of why he was asked to dress that way.
In the opposite corner of the room stood Cooper; Anne Herzog, dean of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Professional Studies; and Martha Potvin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, all dressed in full academic regalia, and ready to present him with his official diploma.
“The College congratulates Joe on all his accomplishments, and we can’t thank him enough for his service to our Country,” said Cooper.
Parmigiane missed graduating last year because he was deployed to Djibouti for 11 months. He returned to the College this year to finish his studies to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree with a dual major in Marketing and Finance
Following the ceremony, Parmigiane seemed humbled by the gesture and acknowledged that the fanfare took him by surprise.
“Honestly, it was a very flattering ceremony and only a school like Springfield College would do something like this,” said Parmigiane.
Brenda Canning, co-chair of the Department of Business Management and associate professor, and assistant professor Kathy Zilch helped organize the early graduation ceremony with Cooper and other officials.
“I know people aren’t able to attend graduation for a number of reasons, but serving your country is not a standard reason, and we wanted to make it special for him,” Canning said.
Parmigiane will head to Gulfport in Mississippi on Friday before being deployed to Africa for 10 months.