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Biden Addresses Colby Grads; UNE Honors First Dentists

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WATERVILLE, Maine- Maine’s 2017 graduation season continues this weekend, with students at University of New England receiving their degrees on Saturday, and students at Colby College in Waterville on Sunday morning.

At Colby, the gathered crowd listened to a 40 minute speech by commencement speaker, the 47th Vice President, Joe Biden, who acknowledged that many young people today may be feeling disheartened by the current political climate.

“This past election cycle churned up some of the ugliest realities in our country. Civilized discourse and real debate gave way to the coarsest rhetoric and stoking of our darkest emotions,” he told the crowd. Biden says he sees big problems to solve, but he also sees the current generation shrinking away from involvement.

“All the polling data shows your generation is by far the most tolerant, the most capable, the most engaged, of any generation in American history. It also shows you don’t want to be engaged in politics. overwhelmingly you don’t want to be engaged in the process. You have to be. You have to be, for your own safety’s sake.”

The Colby Class of 2017 features 480 students from 36 states and 42 different countries. It was the 196th commencement for the private liberal arts college.

Also this weekend, on Saturday, the University of New England graduated 1800 students.

Credit UNE
Dental school student Lynne Cataldo receives her degree from UNE President Danielle Ripich

UNE College President Danielle Ripich says that the school’s 182nd commencement represents a milestone for UNE. “This year, we graduate our first class of dental students. The first dental students to ever graduate Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire,” Ripich told the audience assembled at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday.

62 students graduated with doctorates from UNE’s new Oral Health Center, the state’s only school of dentistry. Among the 1800 degrees, were many focused on health, primary care, and pharmacy, reflecting of the school’s mission to create more healthcare providers for the state. According to UNE, at least 11 of the graduating doctors of dentistry plan to stay in Maine.

It was the 11th and final commencement for President Ripich, who announced last year her intention to retire in 2017.

Bates College in Lewiston and Bowdoin College in Brunswick will hold their commencements Sunday, May 28.