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Commencement speaker: Take pride in your successes

Graduating senior Marisa Pacella has a message for her classmates – pause, reflect and then move forward.

She’ll offer her advice as class representative during the NDSU commencement ceremony Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. in the Fargodome. The morning ceremony includes graduates from the Colleges of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Engineering; Human Development and Education; and Interdisciplinary Studies.

“My speech is about the journey we are on, and how the destination is not the only thing. There is a lot to be said about the wait for the next step and the next big thing,” said Pacella, who is earning her Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality and tourism management, with minors in business administration and psychology. “It’s a great growing and reflecting time for us. I will conclude by reminding my peers of their tremendous track record of achievement thus far. Sure, there are challenges ahead, but I’ll remind them of how far they have already come.”

Pacella,a native of West Fargo, North Dakota, has been highly active in Student Government, serving as student body vice president, student senator and administrative assistant. It’s an experience she cherishes, because her life’s passion is service to others.

“It was such a wonderful learning opportunity for me, and working as a team to help our student body was incredible,” said Pacella, who is the daughter of David and Judy Pacella. “And you need to hold yourself to a high standard because students look to Student Government for answers.”

She also is a Blue Key Honor Society member, showed an animal in the 2019 Little International Livestock Show and finished in the top three of the 2018 Miss NDSU event sponsored by Alpha Tau Omega. 

Pacella is a high-achieving student who earned several academic awards, including the North Dakota Academic Scholarship, Convention and Visitors Bureau Scholarship, Heritage Freshman Scholarship and the Siverson Garda Scholarship. 

“My education and involvement on campus prepared me well for success after graduation. I wouldn’t trade my experiences at NDSU for anything,” she said. “I think the size of NDSU is perfect to cultivate likes, interests and ideas of its students. You know the faculty, know the administration and there are many personal connections with alumni who want to help students.”

During her time at NDSU, Pacella had internships at TMI Hospitality and Sanford Health, and was an English language tutor at the Adult Basic Education Center in Moorhead, Minnesota. 

Four days after commencement she will start her new job as a resource development associate with the United Way of Cass-Clay, continuing her efforts to help others.

And someday in the future, she’d like to take on a new service challenge. She hopes to eventually be elected to a local school board.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
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