Marisa J. Kelly Inaugurated as 11th Suffolk University President
Suffolk University officially welcomed in Marisa J. Kelly as their 11th university president on Friday afternoon. The ceremony took place in Tremont Temple from 3-5pm, and all students were encouraged to attend. Honored guests included the Suffolk Board of Trustees, United States Senator Edward Markey, Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh, Speaker of the House of Massachusetts Robert DeLeo, and Associate Justice in the Massachusetts Supreme Court Elspeth Cypher; Suffolk faculty, alumni, and students were also in attendance.
The ceremony opened with a procession of Suffolk club leaders, staff members, alumni, and honorable guests accompanied by the music played by the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes. The Chairman of the Suffolk Board of Trustees oversaw the ceremony, providing quick welcome and closing speeches expressing his extreme confidence in President Kelly. Senator Markey gave an engaging speech, receiving a big cheer when he remarked that President Kelly’s inauguration was “the only inauguration in 2 years that [he has] actually enjoyed attending.”
After greetings from Mayor Walsh, Speaker DeLeo, and Associate Justice Cypher, Suffolk’s Soulfully Versed performed an original song thanking Marisa Kelly for “showing Suffolk the way.” Representatives from the Board of Trustees, faculty, alumni, staff, and students each gave speeches congratulating President Kelly. Ernst Guerrier – representative of the Board of Trustees – commended the “personal connection [President Kelly] built with [Suffolk’s] students, alumni, and faculty.” Everyone was extremely supportive of President Kelly and excited for a new chapter of Suffolk’s history.
Suffolk Student Marshals and Board Officers assisted in presenting the University Charter and Presidential Medallion to President Marisa Kelly. President Kelly then gave her inaugural address, a powerful speech about the importance of higher education and Suffolk University itself. She shared a touching story about how her father influenced her love of education and the “power of teaching and mentoring,” stressing the importance of obtaining a college degree. In addition, President Kelly shared her plans for Suffolk’s future: assisting Suffolk students beyond undergraduate school, establishing an interdisciplinary honors college, and creating a school of public affairs. Insisting that soft skills are power skills, she maintained that Suffolk is “an educational engine that support students from all walks of life.”
To close off the ceremony, the Ramifications performed the Suffolk alma mater, and Robert Lamb, representative for the Board of Trustees, gave his closing speech. After a standing ovation for the newest president of Suffolk University, President Kelly and her wife led the recessional out of Tremont Temple.
A reception for all guests and Suffolk students was held afterwards in Sargent Hall. Four floors were filled with food, people, and student performances to celebrate. Overall, Suffolk University ensured the day effectively honored a wonderful woman and the school she now leads. To echo Marisa Kelly, the Suffolk community should look with “hope and optimism” towards a new period in Suffolk’s history.