Each year, the graduating class at Bates elects a member of the faculty or staff to speak at Baccalaureate, held the day before graduation.

This year’s speaker was Francisco “Franky” Urueta, a member of the college’s Facility Services staff.

Well-known at Bates, Urueta is a custodian who works the late-evening shift in one of Bates’ busiest academic buildings, Pettengill Hall, where he always makes time to greet students with a kind word and his signature fist bumps.

Video by Theophil Syslo

As Multifaith Chaplain Brittany Longsdorf said in her introduction at Baccalaureate, Urueta is “living proof that the smallest kind gesture can transform someone’s day, someone’s entire college experience, and someone’s life.”

An Apache Native American, Urueta used his address to talk about his path from California to Maine, and he urged the seniors “to give positive energy to people” so that “they give you positive energy back.”

Baccalaureate Address by Franky Urueta on May 25, 2019