Graduates of the Elliott School of International Affairs heard words of inspiration from the school’s dean and a student speaker at the commencement celebration Friday.
Reuben Brigety II, the dean of the Elliott School who began in the position in October, imparted wisdom on the class that he gained from a career as an ambassador and in the military.
1. Hope for the future
The student speaker at the ceremony, Caroline Frances Multere, defined what connects the Class of 2016. Multere, who graduated with a concentration in security policy and a minor in French, said the students in the program are all similar in their hopes for changing the world and finding solutions to international problems.
“The bravest thing we can do is find what connects us amidst what divides us,” Multere said.
2. Choices matter
During the ceremony, Brigety drew upon the lives of inspirational people from biographies he admired to remind the graduates that their choices define the future.
“The world in which we live today is shaped by the deliberate choices of people in the past,” he said. “The world in which we will live tomorrow will be shaped by the choices we make today.”
He spoke about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer – a German theologian executed for dissenting with Nazi ideologies during World War II – and Nelson Mandela – who ended the apartheid in South Africa – among other impressive historical figures.
“You will be in debt of wisdom to navigate successfully the challenges that will come your way,” Brigety said. “The best wisdom often comes from listening to the stories of those who have already trade the paths on which you hope to walk.”
3. Call your mom
Brigety advised graduates to take care of themselves and to develop balance in their lives. He said the graduates should take care of the their bodies and keep their families close.
“Family, however you define it, is what matters most,” he said.
4. Three E’s
Christina Fink, a professor of practice of international affairs, received the Harry Harding Teaching Award during the ceremony. She congratulated the Class of 2016 and recognized the first generation college graduates.
“You have overcome so many obstacles to make it to this day and we are all inspired by you,” she said.
Fink challenged the graduates of the school on E Street to be three things that start with an E: exemplary, enterprising and exceptional. She advised the graduates to be respectful when making their life decisions and asked them to treat problems as challenges to overcome.
Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com