Despite the dreary whether, spirits were high as about 730 students graduated from Beverly's Endicott College this morning.
Waving to loved ones and fixing their black gowns, students filed onto Endicott's turf field for the school's 73rd commencement ceremony.
The school handed out clear ponchos to friends and family of the graduates in preparation for rain. Attendees endured a mere drizzle.
"Today it's time for celebrations," said President Richard E. Wylie. "It's time to recognize all the good things that are ahead of you, all the good things that led you to this path."
Colin Angle, CEO and co-founder of iRobot Corp., as well as one of the leading authorities on mobile robots, delivered the commencement address.
Prior to co-establishing iRobot in 1990, Angle was president of Artificial Creatures Inc., and worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has been named CEO of the Year by the Mass Technology Leadership Council, a Mass High Tech All-Star, and received other honors as well.
Angle holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science, both from MIT. His master thesis produced "Genghis," a six-legged autonomous walking robot, now resides at the Smithsonian National Air and Science Museum in Washington D.C.
"You have achieved one of life's great milestones," Angle said. "You have worked hard to get to this stage of your education successfully. I want you to be proud of your accomplishments and remember this day for the rest of your lives."
Endicott awarded Angle an honorary degree, along with Michael A. Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, Ernest J. Mannino, deputy executive director for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and Joanne Holbrook Patton, owner and CEO of Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, which is the region’s only certified organic farm.
"You are graduating from Endicott College today, and will go out into the world and work to figure out how you will become special," Angle said. "And to aid in that search, I offer you one more thing. Being a small part of something important, can be far better than being an important part of something small."
According to Wylie, about 45 percent of the graduates already have jobs lined up for after graduation. Preparation for their chosen profession, Wylie added, comes from the several internships they had during their time at Endicott.
"Internships help them mature so they go out knowing what they want and what to expect," Wylie said. "They're ready to go."