May 17, 2018
Everyone who has attended a college or university graduation knows that commencement weekend, even with all the joy it brings, can be a hectic time for graduates and their families. There are, in many cases, reservations to confirm, travel routes to check, gowns to be ironed and final preparations for after-parties to be made. But this year, no UNE family will be pulled in as many directions at once on Commencement weekend as the Hanleys from Wiscasset, Maine. They have not one, not two, but three UNE grads to celebrate.
As parents of Rachel Hanley, 27, a graduate from UNE’s online Master of Education program; Ross Hanley, 25, graduating from the Physician Assistant program; and Sarah Hanley, 21, earning her B.S. in Medical Biology (with a Nutrition minor), Tim and Lori Hanley, along with various relatives, will be attending a total of four UNE Commencement ceremonies: the College of Graduate and Professional Studies ceremony, the Westbrook College of Health Professions Graduate ceremony, the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony (all on Friday, May 18) and the University Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19. And just how will family members accomplish this? “Divide and conquer,” says Ross.
Rachel, who received her undergraduate degree from UNE in elementary education, paved the way for the Hanleys at UNE. Currently working as a first-grade teacher in Topsham, Maine, Rachel knew going into college that she wanted to become an educator, and it was the combination of UNE’s robust Education program, its beautiful campus and its swimming program that enticed her. Ross, like Rachel, also attended UNE as an undergraduate. An Athletic Training major, he completed his four years, took a year off to work as a trainer at UNE, and then returned to the UNE classroom as graduate student in the P.A. program. Like his older sister, he competed in swimming all four years of his undergrad career. Sarah, the youngest, began her undergrad education in Pennsylvania, but transferred to UNE (where she, too, swam) after her sophomore year. “My siblings’ experiences here played a huge role in my decision to come to UNE,” she shares. “When I made the decision to transfer, UNE was the only school I applied to or even thought about going to. I had already been interested in it since high school. I knew both my brother and sister had great experiences here, and I knew I would too.”
But UNE and the swimming bug are not the only things that the Hanley siblings have in common. They are all hardworking and successful in their fields. Rachel landed a teaching job right out of her UNE undergrad program; Ross has three interviews lined up so far (two in cardiology and one in urgent care) for jobs as a physician assistant --any of which would keep him in his home state; and Sarah, who has been working part-time as certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a Kennebunk nursing home while attending UNE for the past two years, has been hired by Maine Medical Center as an Emergency Department Technician. Following in her older brother’s footsteps, she plans to take a year off to work and then hopes to enter UNE’s Physician Assistant program.
Covering the spectrum of students from online to on-campus, from graduate to undergrad, from health sciences to humanities, and from transfer to traditional, the Hanleys represent the broad array of the UNE student experience – all in one family.
When asked what it means to them that they are all graduating from UNE together, Rachel clarifies that “it was never a pre-planned notion.”
“It just kind of happened,” she says.
“I never thought I would be graduating from UNE when I started college, let alone be able to graduate with two of my three siblings,” says Sarah. “I am just so proud of them and everything they’ve accomplished so far in their academic and professional careers. I have been able to learn a lot from both of them, especially with us all so close together.”
Ross thinks that the triple UNE graduation says something about the kind of people the Hanleys are. “It’s cool. It’s unique. I think it shows that we all have Maine in our hearts and that we’re all pretty family-oriented,” he reflects.
“They are all pretty big life events,” says Rachel of the graduations that she and her siblings are about to experience, “so to be able to share them together as a family is neat. It’s really special.”
To learn more about UNE’s 2018 Commencement, visit www.un.edu/commencement
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions