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Stage is set for commencement speakers

LJ VP LaFuira holds up his Student Leader of the Year award during the 2024 Student Leadership Awards Banquet in DeWitt Hall. Photo by Brian Wardyga

With the end of the semester creeping around the corner, the Class of 2024 may or may not, be looking forward to their graduation. Lasell’s graduating class has been celebrating the milestones they have achieved over the years with the 100, 75, 50, and 25 days to graduation bar crawls. These events, combined with Marathon Monday and the Torchlight parade, help seniors wind down and say some of their goodbyes before graduation.

Lasell’s undergraduate graduation ceremony on May 11 will feature two speakers at the commencement. The undergraduate speaker is LJ LaFiura, a graduating senior. LaFiura is a sports communication major with a minor in journalism. He was chosen to speak at the commencement ceremony after going through a rigorous process where Lasell faculty anonymously read and voted on which speeches to hear in person. LaFiura was shocked when he found out he was selected. 

“There definitely was a level of pride when I first found out. I called my parents first and they were thrilled,” said LaFiura. “In a time of uncertainty like graduation, people need a voice of reassurance”.

Senior biochemistry major Connor Parker, a long-time friend and roommate of LaFiura said that he believes LaFiura is deserving of the honor. 

“I think LJ is a great example of Laser Spirit and his speech will be a great addition to the graduation ceremony this year,” said Parker. 

LaFiura has been involved in many activities on campus in his four years here. He is the station manager for the WLAS radio station, a member of the drama club, and the Print Sports writer for The 1851 Chronicle. These activities helped LaFiura take on leadership positions that he says he would not have gotten if he had gone to a larger institution. 

“At Lasell, I’ve worked with a lot of great leaders who showed me how to push people to higher standards and how to lead with great amounts of empathy,” LaFiura said.

Lewis Katz, a senior radio and video production major and member of the WLAS team emphasizes LaFiura’s dedication to being the station manager. 

“[LJ] is a go-getter and always likes things done on time and efficiently. He always is great at communicating with everyone and being efficient at his job. He is usually the main point of contact for everyone”, said Katz.

LaFiura thanks the past members of the WLAS team for helping him develop confidence in his leadership abilities, and also for the kindness and respect they showed him, which helped him make the decision to take the station manager position.

The keynote speaker at commencement is Deborah Goldberg, the treasurer and receiver general for the state of Massachusetts. In this position, she manages the state’s money and debt. As a former businesswoman, this position allows Goldberg to use her expertise to make sure that the state is ethically and properly doing business. 

Her experience working in government can inspire the graduating class to push through the hard times and focus on achieving their goals. Her work has helped uplift the voices of many underprivileged and underrepresented communities within Massachusetts as well as around the country. The class of 2024 is quite lucky to have her as their keynote speaker. The wisdom Goldberg may bestow on the class of 2024 can instill the confidence and determination needed to work towards the goals graduates want to meet.

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