BANGOR — Nathaniel W. Lutz advised his fellow Husson University graduates “never to stop graduating” from new challenges and not to be afraid to ask for help when they need it.

“If I hadn’t asked for help from the counseling center, I would not have had the courage to say, ‘Hi, my name is Nate,’ to the woman I love,” Lutz, 21, of Calais and president of the Class of 2014 said Sunday afternoon at a packed Cross Insurance Center.

Lutz, who earned his undergraduate degree in psychology, said that he sought out counseling for anxiety. He was uncomfortable in groups of people and afraid to speak in public.

“If it weren’t for the help I received, I wouldn’t be standing here today, shaking in my boots … I mean, my dress shoes,” he said. “Husson helped not just build a better student, it built a better man.”

Lutz said he already has begun working toward his master’s degree in psychology at Husson.

This year, Husson awarded more than 800 undergraduate and graduate degrees, the largest number awarded since its founding in 1898, according to President Robert A. Clark.

“Our graduates come from 190 Maine cities, towns, villages and unorganized territories,” Clark said Sunday.

The university held its commencement ceremony off campus for the first time in decades. In recent years, it has been held outdoors at the Winkin Complex and in the Newman Gymnasium during inclement weather.

“ Husson University has experienced enormous growth over the past decade,” Lynne Coy-Ogan, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Husson University, said last week. “As the number of students earning degrees and the number of family members interested in attending graduation has increased, we found we could no longer hold our commencement on campus and remain indoors.”

Husson awarded honorary degrees Sunday to Royce M. Cross and Mary Prybylo, who delivered the commencement address.

The president and chief executive officer of the Cross Insurance Agency received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree in recognition of his dedication to integrity, hard work, loyalty and community leadership.

Cross began his professional career in 1970, typing insurance policies in his father’s agency. Over the past four decades, the insurance agency has grown and prospered. After 103 acquisitions, the organization has expanded to include 650 employees servicing more than 100,000 customers out of more than 35 offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The firm announced earlier this month that it is purchasing the Bangor Daily News building. The Main Street building, which is across Buck Street from the new Cross Insurance Center, will house the company’s 75 Bangor employees.

Prybylo, who has been president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Healthcare and St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor since 2011, has extensive health care experience in both administration and patient care services. Over the course of her career, she has held a variety of leadership positions. Prybylo was honored for her lifelong commitment to serving the community and her support of access to quality health care and patient dignity, according to a Husson press release.

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