image 1Commencement 2006

Commencement Profiles

Janis '71 and Jillian '07 Wolfson (Ruth S. Ammon School of Education)
A Mother's Day Gift

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While many children gave their mothers the standard gifts of flowers, cards, and perfume for Mother’s Day, Jillian Wolfson '07 bestowed upon her mother a gift that cannot be bought. She gave her mother a chance to walk at Commencement, something her mother, a School of Education alumna, had missed out on 36 years ago.

Janis Kurland Wolfson graduated in January 1971, but didn't attend Commencement, and it has weighed on her ever since. Although she went on to earn her master’s in student personnel services from Kean University and her doctorate in education from Nova University, Dr. Wolfson still felt pangs of remorse over not marching with the Class of 1971.

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This year, her daughter Jillian graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. Months ago, as Jillian and her mother were discussing graduation, Dr. Wolfson revealed that she hadn’t walked at her undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Both agreed that it would be nice if they could walk together this year. "I'm a very traditional and family-oriented person," said Jillian. She wanted to do something special for her mother.

Recognizing that walking at commencement is an important commemoration, Jillian snapped into action and contacted Dean Ronald S. Feingold of the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. Assistant Dean Ruth McShane of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Feingold began the arduous process of searching for Dr. Wolfson’s transcripts, which were still held in paper files. The final hurdle was securing approval from Adelphi’s Commencement Committee.

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Meanwhile, Jillian kept her efforts a secret from her mother.

For Mother’s Day, she surprised Dr. Wolfson with a card and poem asking her to walk at Commencement alongside her daughter. "She cried for about 20 minutes," said Jillian, "She's very excited."

By Farrah Mohsin '07

Photos by Willson Lee
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