A Brightening Future: Jillian Eaves Receives Her Master’s Degree From University of Tampa

Jillian Eaves, daughter of Dr. William “Billy” Eaves, a Chelsea native, and Jane Page of Revere, received her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Tampa during commencement ceremonies held May 4.

The Honor of Delivering the Student Address

The graduation program capped a memorable slate of events for Dr. Eaves, who had listened proudly as his daughter had the honor of delivering the student address at the hooding ceremony.

Jillian Eaves, proud recipient of a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Tampa.

Jillian, a 2019 graduate of Revere High School who also holds an undergraduate degree from Tampa, told her fellow graduates, “We are now part of the 13 percent of Americans who have master’s degrees. Congratulations and thank you to my colleagues in the curriculum and instruction program. To our professors, thank you for the care, guidance, and encouragement throughout the pursuit of earning our master’s degrees.”

An elementary school teacher in the Tampa area, Jillian Eaves also spoke earnestly of the profession that she has chosen for her career.

“One of the first things that they tell you when you enter the education field is that you are in it for the outcome, not the income, because we are not seen as a rich profession,” said Eaves. “However, I’m of the belief that we are part of the richest career paths. We are rich in community. Our classes allow us to use our position as the center. We discuss the communities and cultures where we work implementing plans to better the lives and education of our students in our classrooms.”

“It was a very nice weekend,” Dr. Eaves stated humbly, summing up the pridefulness he felt as a parent of outstanding children.

Strong Chelsea Roots

Jillian, 23, is the granddaughter of the late Irma Eaves and Thomas F. Eaves Sr., who served with distinction in the Chelsea Fire Department for 33 years. Jillian has an older brother, Christian, who played hockey at Revere High and graduated from Salem State University in 2018.

Her father, Dr. William Eaves, is a 1976 graduate of Chelsea High where he excelled in academics and athletics. “Billy,” as he was known by his many Chelsea admirers and friends, went on to receive degrees from Boston College and Boston University Dental School. He currently has his own dental practice in South Boston and is the director of the dental program at the Lynn Community Health Center.

A Special Meeting with Alex Riseman

During the weekend, the Eaves family met over breakfast with University of Tampa trustee and major donor Benson “Alex” Riseman, who like Dr. Eaves, grew up on Chester Avenue, was a standout athlete from youth sports through high school, and graduated from Chelsea High. Alex played college baseball at his alma mater, the University of Tampa.

“Alex is a very humble guy,” said Dr. Eaves. “He was very nice. We talked about our Chester Avenue roots and our neighbors. I would say about Alex, ‘You can take the kid out of Chelsea, but you can’t take the Chelsea out of the kid.’ All his success hasn’t changed him. I admire that.” The fitness center on the campus of UTampa is named the Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center.

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