Italian Sen. Massimo Mallegni told Troy University graduates on Friday that their commencement ceremony did not represent an ending but rather a beginning of their journey.
Nearly 700 graduates from 22 different states and 13 nations received their diplomas during the ceremony inside Trojan Arena on the Troy Campus.
“I am honored to be a part of one of the most important parts of a person’s life – the commencement ceremony,” Mallegni said. “I am convinced that today is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life. It is the beginning of a journey that I hope will be filled with happiness and be rich with success. “
Mallegni said relationships forged between Italy and the city of Montgomery and Troy University are helping to share what he called one of the foundations of the world – culture.
“Don’t ever forget about culture,” he said. “Without culture, we are nothing. Thanks to the development of relationships, a deep connection was born with your city and your University. With the fundamental support of Dr. Jack Hawkins and Mrs. Janice Hawkins we have been working to build a bridge between Alabama and Italy.”
Mallegni is the former mayor of the city of Pietrasanta, Italy, the sister city of Montgomery, and the senator expressed gratitude to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange for his work in helping build, maintain and strengthen that relationship.
Troy University theatre, dance and music students and faculty participated in the Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta Festival this past summer, marking the second year TROY students have spent time studying and performing for the festival.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, credited Mallegni for forging the relationship between Pietrasanta and TROY and opening doors of opportunity for TROY students to experience the world.
“Troy University is known today as Alabama’s International University,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor. “We enroll students from more than 70 different countries. We have also taken TROY to the world. I am pleased with the evolving study abroad program that we have witnessed at this University. In fact, since March, we’ve sent 22 delegations to 17 different countries. I think one of the most exciting destinations is Pietrasanta, Italy. Sen. Mallegni is the man that planted the seed for an important partnership that has made Pietrasanta, Italy the summer home for our College of Communication and Fine Arts.”