11,235 passports to success — Commencement Spring 2016


This past Sunday, May 8, I had the honor of attending my third spring commencement as Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Each time, I am a bit more amazed at how well this enormous — and lengthy — ceremony is planned and orchestrated.

I don’t think that anyone ever feels like a number, despite the size of the crowd — even this one — with a record 11,235 degrees being presented to the largest graduating class in university history.

This is a day when everyone is special, everyone is celebrated, but this day is not an exception. From their first day on the Oval to this singular day in Ohio Stadium, every student is always viewed as a distinct individual.

As a dean and an educator, it is a real pleasure to be able to hand a diploma to some of our amazing arts and sciences graduates. I do so with a profound sense of pride, confident that they are well-armed to meet whatever demands and challenges the future might hold.

These diplomas are their passports to the world. They signify not just the successful completion of a series of requirements and electives, but that the new graduate is not the same young person who first set foot on campus. He or she has changed.

Given a comprehensive education and a wealth of experiences and opportunities, our students are prepared to move forward to improve, lead and change the world.

Many in the graduation line had a head-start in making a real difference in people’s lives. For example, dance, pre-med major Marie (Mimi) Lamantia created a dance-based intervention to improve balance and walking for cancer survivors; and economics and math majors Nima Dahir and Jackson Frazier, helped co-found REFUGE, a non-profit organization to empower adolescent refugee youth in the U.S.

I look forward to hearing great things about them and all of our incredibly talented and caring graduates, as they share their stories of success — many and varied — as diverse, extraordinary and inspirational as they are.

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