U.S. Army veteran Adam DeCiccio will receive a master’s degree and will serve as keynote speaker when Salve Regina University celebrates its graduate commencement on Thursday, May 16 at 3 p.m. on the Oceanside lawn of McAuley Hall.
Salve Regina President, Dr. Jane Gerety, RSM, will award 263 degrees during the ceremony, including 69 master of arts degrees, 80 master of business administration degrees, 100 master of science degrees, 12 doctor of philosophy degrees and, for the first time, two doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees.
DeCiccio, who will be awarded a master of science degree in rehabilitation counseling during the ceremony, works as regional manager at Veterans Inc. in Pawtucket.
“I joined the U.S. Army Infantry when I was 17 on Sept. 7, 2001; four days later the world changed forever,” DeCiccio said. “Over the next six years I was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq fighting for our country. It was my job to be on the front lines and, most of all, to keep everyone safe around me so we all got back home. This was my mission.”
After his years spent in combat, DeCiccio said he struggled in his transition back into civilian life, something he shares with many veterans. “I sought help at the VA hospital and began searching for something that would fill the void and that gave my life meaning,” he said. “I began my post-military life by helping newer veterans navigate the VA system. My VA counselor recommended that I consider helping veterans as a career and pursue a master’s degree in mental health counseling.”
With his degree, DeCiccio has sharpened his new mission: to improve access to housing, mental health and employment services for fellow veterans to help create more military and veteran’s specific programs in graduate studies.
Also during Thursday’s graduate ceremony, Salve Regina will award its first Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees to Kelly Baxter, a family nurse practitioner for Care New England, and Helen Price, a nurse practitioner at Falmouth Hospital in Massachusetts. The university established the 78-credit, practice-based DNP program in 2014 to develop leaders in the industry who are able to advance quality care while navigating complex and evolving health care systems.