Dream of earning college degree comes true

May 29, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

Anastatia Piet always wanted a college degree. Yesterday, at age 41, she got one.

The Baltimore resident said that when she was in high school it wasn't important among her peers for women to attend college, with many opting for marriage and children instead. Ms. Piet followed that route, but always dreamed of becoming a college graduate.

Ms. Piet was one of 408 students to walk away with diplomas during a commencement ceremony at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in northern Baltimore yesterday.

A single mother with two sons, Ms. Piet spent 5 1/2 years attending the college's weekend program. She earned her bachelor's degree in business management while working full time at the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

"If it was difficult, it was worth every minute of it," said the Cedarcroft resident, who intends to seek a master's degree in public and international affairs. "I feel so full of joy."

During yesterday's ceremony, college President Sister Rosemarie Nassif recalled the many accomplishments of the graduates.

She pointed out that one woman earned a master's degree while coping with her husband's death and rearing her 3-year-old daughter. Another traveled some 9,000 miles from her native Namibia to attend the college and now will go back to her homeland to work as a television anchorwoman.

During the ceremony, the college presented Baltimore businessman Harvey "Bud" Meyerhoff with its annual Pro Urbe Award, an honor inspired by St. Augustine given to people who work to build the "City of God."

Mr. Meyerhoff, chairman of the investment company Magna Holdings Inc., is the former chairman of the federal organization that developed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington. He also is active in many community programs and charities.

The college also presented Sister Clare Fitzgerald, a 1954 graduate and former teacher at the school, with an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters. She is director of the Catholic School Leadership Program and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston College.

After the ceremony, graduates gathered on the lawn outside LeClerc Hall, gathering hugs and handshakes from friends and relatives.

Some graduates reflected on their accomplishments with satisfaction, happy their college years are over and ready to move on.

Natalia Mistichelli, a Baltimore resident who received a bachelor's degree in international studies, used words like ecstatic, exuberant and joyous to describe her feelings.

"I'm glad I don't have to do homework for a long, long time," said Ms. Mistichelli, who is planning for a career in public service. "But I'll definitely miss the people."

Jane Sacco, of Parkville, said she plans to get a job with her degree in psychology and then go to graduate school.

"I feel like it's the end of an era," she said. "I feel ready to start something else now."

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