Press Releases Archived All Stories

WCSU prepares for 120th commencement, announces speaker

Image of Abigail Lynch
Commencement speaker Abigail Lynch

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University graduating nursing student Abigail Lynch, of Seymour, will deliver the university’s 120th commencement address on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, 600 Main St. in Bridgeport. Lynch, who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the ceremony, was selected as the commencement speaker by a committee of administrators and WCSU President Dr. John Clark.

Graduating students who had received Dean’s Awards from each of WestConn’s four schools — the Ancell School of Business, Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences, School of Professional Studies and School of Visual and Performing Arts — as well as students who had submitted applications to be considered for Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards comprised the pool of commencement speaker candidates. The students were invited to submit in writing and deliver a proposed commencement address to members of the committee.

Lynch was selected as commencement speaker based on her proposed speech, which focuses not only on what she learned during her four years at WestConn, but also how she plans to apply that knowledge upon graduation. A Kathwari Honors Program participant, Lynch also is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honors Society; vice president of the Honors Students of Compassion; a member of the Student Nurses Association, a WCSU Orientation Leader and a participant in the WCSU Shadow Program run by the Office of Admissions. As a student, she participated in numerous fundraising and awareness events including the March of Dimes Walk, Western Day of Service, Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease and Relay for Life.

Lynch was employed full time as a student nurse associate at Danbury Hospital while pursuing her degree. While juggling the demands of her job, the requirements of the Honors Program and the rigor of the nursing curriculum, Lynch was able to maintain a 3.87 GPA. A study-abroad opportunity through WestConn’s Department of Nursing enabled Lynch to spend her recent spring break in Thessaloniki, Greece, to study global health care in nursing.

“I discovered that nurses are involved in creating policies to improve refugees’ qualities of life and they also work on the monetary level to determine the allocation of resources for the refugees,” she explained in her proposed speech. “This reminded me that nursing is not just a science and an art, but that we are involved in politics, business and global affairs. We can go anywhere and do anything.”

Lynch plans to build upon her education and experiences to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing before seeking work with the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. In the short term, she expects to work as a registered nurse on an oncology unit while furthering her education.

The commencement speech will be part of the larger May 20 ceremony during which WCSU will confer 1,211 degrees. They include 10 associate degrees, 1,059 bachelor’s degrees, 133 master’s degrees and nine doctorate of education degrees, eight of which are Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership and one Ed.D. in Nursing Education.

For more information, call (203) 837-8800 or visit



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.