Siena Heights recognizes graduates from all sites

Siena Heights University awarded degrees to more than 1,100 graduates from all of its campuses on Saturday.

The university, which is based in Adrian, recognized associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from its main campus, its six satellites and its distance learning program during Saturday afternoon’s commencement. It was the first time students from across the entire Siena Heights system were represented at a single commencement ceremony. About 475 graduates were present.

Honorary degrees were awarded to Mary Spencer and her husband, the late Sash Spencer, both longtime benefactors of Siena Heights. The school’s new athletic complex is named for the Spencers, and Mary Spencer has donated $5 million toward the construction of a new student center.

“I envision Siena Heights as a sparkling jewel of education in the Midwest,” Spencer said. “Long may it shine.”

Siena Heights President Sister Peg Albert reminded the graduates of the words of St. Catherine of Siena, the university’s patroness, who said “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

“You are who you should be,” she said. “You are the graduates of SHU. You are gifted people who have so much to offer to our world. You can set the world on fire by searching for the truth and being lifelong learners, by creating community wherever you go, by praying and being faithful to your god, and by being of service to your brothers and sisters who are in the greatest need.

“You, through the mission of Siena, are called to go out and work for truth and justice by living competent, purposeful and ethical lives.”