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A student walks along a sidewalk on the campus of Husson University

Husson University’s 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Show that Hard Work Pays Off



Published on: May 9, 2019
Olivia Willams, Valedictorian
Olivia Willams, Valedictorian

BANGOR, MAINE - Becoming a Husson University valedictorian or salutatorian is no easy task. It requires hard work, grit, perseverance and a willingness to consistently seek a standard of excellence.

This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are shining examples of college students can remake themselves and how Husson University transforms students’ lives.

 

Olivia Williams: Valedictorian

Olivia Williams ’19 is the first generation of her family to complete a college degree. “I had to put myself through college. It wasn’t an option for me, it was just something I had to do,” said Williams. “I’ve had to work all four years I attended college. During the past year, I’ve been working two jobs.” 

Fortunately, Husson was able to help. “Scholarships are very important. I got a great financial aid package from Husson. I wouldn’t have been able to go to college without it.”

Simultaneously, Williams was a student ambassador for the School of Legal Studies. “I met with prospective students and shared what it’s like to attend Husson. For the past three years, I’ve worked at open houses, and accepted student days,” said Williams. 

“I’ve also been a volunteer for the past year-and-a-half at Partners for Peace, as a domestic violence crisis hotline worker. Before that, I was volunteering at the Shepherd’s Godparent Home for about two-and-a-half years. Trying to stay involved with the community, working, supporting Husson and studying has kept me pretty busy. I didn’t have a lot of free time.”

All of that hard work paid off. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and a Certificate in Counterterrorism and Security, Williams was named the valedictorian for the Class of 2019 with a perfect grade point average of 4.0.

“Once I got a 4.0 my first semester, I was determined to keep that on my transcript. In the years that followed, I did whatever I could to maintain a 4.0 average. I spent a lot of time studying, working on homework, and perfecting my papers and projects. Fortunately, I enjoy the education process.”

When Williams heard that she would be Husson’s valedictorian this year, she shared the news with her family. “My parents were so excited and proud of me. I had some health issues in middle school and that affected my grades. Becoming a college valedictorian wasn’t something they anticipated, especially from a first generation college student. They knew I had been working really hard for the past four years and that my grades were high, but this exceeded their expectations.”

Williams chose Husson because of the strength of the university’s education and faculty. “I only applied to schools with a criminal justice program. I knew that’s what I wanted to do from the very beginning of the college search process. Once I visited the school, sat down and had lunch with Professor Michaud up at the Dickerman Dining Center, I was sold. He totally inspired me and assured me I’d be able to do something with this degree that would be meaningful,” said Williams. 

“After that, I made that decision to attend Husson. It was the very first day I came to campus. There was never a question about where I wanted to go.”

Four years later, Williams has no regrets about her choice. “I got accepted to every law school I applied to. I’ve decided to go to law school at William & Mary Law in Williamsburg, Virginia and focus on criminal law. Addressing the issue of domestic violence is definitely my passion. William & Mary Law School has a domestic violence clinic that I want to get involved in.”

“I’ll admit that I was concerned initially about how far a Husson degree would take me because the University is best known here in Maine. Having gone through the law school application process, I’ve realized how valuable my Husson degree is. My applications were sent to law schools across the country and I never received a rejection. A Husson degree can take you anywhere you want to go.

 

Zachary Lacroix – Salutatorian

“When I first heard about Husson, I wasn’t sure this was the college for me,” said Zachary Lacroix, ’19, this year’s salutatorian. “Visiting Husson changed my mind. At the conclusion of the campus tour, the tour guide offered to informally show me around the New England School of Communications (NESCom). Seeing the technology and how much the University was investing in equipment impressed me. It showed me that that Husson was devoted to providing students with the resources they needed.”

Zachary-Lacroix-sm.jpgLacroix continued: “This was the last school I toured, so I had seen what other schools had committed to their programs. While the investments those other schools made in their programs weren’t insubstantial, Husson University was at a whole other level. The amount of equipment they have here, the relevancy, and how current the technology is, shows that they’re committed to providing up-to-date resources and really working with students. The University wants to provide students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to have successful careers.”

Lacroix excelled in his coursework over the past four years and is graduating from Husson University with a 3.996 GPA. “I earned an A in every course, except for one credit, where I earned an A-.”      

A lot of what drives Lacroix to excel is his willingness to challenge himself. “I’ve always taken a high course load, even in high school, so I tried to maintain that when I got to Husson. I try to push myself as much as I can.”

This is reflected in Lacroix’s academic record. At graduation, he’ll receive a Bachelor of Science in Communications Technology with a concentration in live sound technology. He’ll have also completed a minor in information technology and five certificates during the four years he attended Husson. This includes certificates in entertainment production, event design, web design, web media, and graphic design. 

Lacroix’s initial interest in live sound began when he did sound work for his high school theater.  “I enjoyed that and wanted to do more. Attending Husson, however, opened my eyes to other areas within the professional sound industry that I think are more interesting.”

“One of the areas I’m looking at is sound installation,” continued Lacroix “I enjoy working with computer graphic software, math, science, physics and things like that. All of these subjects have relevance when you are trying to design a facility’s sound system, regardless of whether it’s a new school, an arena or a venue of some kind. Besides sound, there might also be lighting or video that needs to be taken into account. Designing these systems can be very mentally stimulating. It’s all about designing a system that ensures all of the components work together seamlessly in a particular space. In addition, this career allows me to work with technology in a hands-on way and I really enjoy doing that.” 

His parents were extremely excited to learn he was named salutatorian. “I shared the news with them over the phone,” said Lacroix. “I’m not someone who enjoys it when others make a fuss. So when I shared the news with my parents, I just tried to slip it in at the end of a conversation and say, ‘Oh by the way, I thought you might want to know…’ Of course, that didn’t diminish their enthusiasm. They were very happy when they heard the news.”

Lacroix felt he got an excellent education from Husson University’s New England School of Communications. “NESCom is a great community. I enjoy working with other students who are also very good at what they do. My professors and I have similar points of view about how work should be done. We shared a philosophy of ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.’ That speaks to my interest of setting a high standard for myself.”

“The content at Husson is very dynamic, which I like. Our world is a changing landscape, especially working in an industry like this. At Husson, the faculty do a great job of keeping up with things, bringing new content to the students and sharing their experiences out in the field from before they became educators. I think that their perspective is very valuable, especially in live sound. If someone is interested in a career in live sound, I’d definitely recommend Husson.”

 

Commencement

These two individuals will be recognized for their academic achievements, along with the rest of the Class of 2019 at Husson University's 120th Annual Commencement Exercises at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2019. 

 

About Husson University

For more than 120 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. According to a recent tuition and fee analysis by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is the most affordable private college in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

 

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