SAC to honor monk historian, UConn nurse and Woodside educator


Courtesy/Saint Anselm College

Alumni Quad set up for a previous Commencement ceremony

The Class of 2022 is set to celebrate commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, on the college quadrangle. This is the first graduation for the college without COVID restrictions in three years and the first unrestricted celebration for President Joseph Favazza since being named President of the College in the summer of 2019. 

The college announced three recipients of the honorary degrees at the 129th commencement ceremony. These individuals are Father Columba Stewart, O.S.B., Tim Molak, retired Head of School at Woodside Priory School, and E. Carol Polifroni ’71, director of the Office of Clinical Placement Coordination at the University of Connecticut. Fr. Columba will also serve as commencement speaker at the ceremony celebrating the Class of 2022. Fr. Columba is the Executive Director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and a professor of theology at Saint John’s School of Theology. He is featured in many international radio programs for his work in the digitization of religious writings and has appeared in the CBS program “60 Minutes.” He will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters. 

Tim Molak worked at Woodside Priory School, an institution founded in 1956 by Benedictine Monks and has been under the direction of the Saint Anselm community for over 40 years. He worked as a teacher, Dean of Students, and Head of School for 22 years. He oversaw the expansion of the school and was a driving force behind renovating and redesigning the campus. He will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters. E. Carol Polifroni graduated from Saint Anselm with a degree in nursing. She is a published author in the field of health care and has received several grants to create nursing education programs and events. She will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science. In regards to this collection of recipients, President Favazza said, “While our three honorary degree recipients have traveled different paths in their lives, they share a common devotion to humanity and they wonderfully represent the values of our college and our community.” More information about these distinguished guests was made available via an email from President Favazza and can be found on the college website. 

The class of 2022 has also been working hard toward the class gift. To date, the senior class gift has raised over $2,200 through 225 donors. According to the 2022 Class Gift coaches, the purpose of the class gift is to “Giving back to the college and including you (the class of 2022) along the way. This is our opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on the Hilltop for generations of future Anselmians.” Throughout the year, the senior class has promoted many events and fundraisers to promote the class gift. Several teams, clubs, and organizations have donated throughout the year to the senior gift, along with members of the class of 2022. 

2022 Commencement Ceremonies are an important one for the college, as they are the first celebrations to be held without restrictions since 2019. President Favazza has had to handle two pandemic graduations and finally gets to celebrate with students, friends, and family without the pressure of COVID looming over the event. A year ago, the class of 2022 did not know what their final year on campus would look like, and fortunately for them, it was a much more normal year than the two prior. They get to celebrate events in person, such as the Senior Formal, Senior Brunch, and Baccalaureate Mass. Baccalaureate Mass will take place on Friday, May 10 on the college quad following the Honors Convocation. The class of 2022 also celebrates Saint Anselm’s first graduate school class, with some students completing the college’s 4+1 Criminal Justice program, the school’s first and only masters program. 

President of the Class of 2022, Sean Bentley, worked very hard in the SGA to help his class have the events that make senior year so memorable. When asked about the strain the last few years put on the class of 2022 and the value of the last few weeks on the Hilltop, Bentley said, “It has been a very difficult period and we have emerged stronger because of it. We are very happy to have a ceremony and to honor all the accomplishments of our class with friends, families, and all we have come to know her at St. A’s.”