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Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, makes remarks during the school's graduation ceremony. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, makes remarks during the school’s graduation ceremony. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

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

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Jeffrey Brand, the associate dean for graduate studies in CCAS, delivers remarks to the inductees of Phi Beta Kappa. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Jeffrey Brand, the associate dean for graduate studies in CCAS, delivers remarks to the inductees of Phi Beta Kappa. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

This post was written by Culture Editor Grace Gannon.

Updated: May 13, 2016 at 8:23 p.m.

President of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa Jeffrey Brand kicked off Thursday afternoon’s induction ceremony by giving parents the ok to brag about their child’s membership in the prestigious honor society.

Brand, who is also the associate dean for graduate studies in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, joked that parents should introduce their child to someone by saying “Have you met my son, the Phi Beta Kappa?”

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman also charged new members of the society to continue their love of learning.

1. Learning in the age of technology

Maltzman said now that students have knowledge “literally at your fingertips” with new technology, it’s more important than ever to keep a passion for learning.

“I encourage you to press beyond the superficial and use your critical thinking skills to question the information that you find,” Maltzman said.

He added that students should turn to books that offer a “level of depth and insight” and go beyond what they can learn from looking at an iPhone.

2. ‘Think outside the disciplinary box’

Maltzman urged students to ‘think outside the disciplinary box’ they studied in during their time at the University.

He said that the most important discoveries occur at the “intersection of the different fields,” citing the intersections of topics like psychology and economics, and biology and political science.

3. Call to action

Maltzman ended his address by reminding students of the responsibility graduates hold as members of the prestigious society.

Students should use their “natural intelligence and gift of academic excellence” to contribute to society, Maltzman said.

“There are an infinite number of ways to do this, from inventing the next iPhone to writing the next Broadway musical to working for social justice,” Maltzman said.

In a reference to the society’s emblem of a key, Maltzman ended his speech asking students to “open many doors” after they graduate.

“The way you do this is to try unlocking even those whose keys you don’t think you possess,” Maltzman told the inductees.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Mark Shenkman is one of seven members of GW's Board of Trustees who is stepping down. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Mark Shenkman is one of seven members of GW’s Board of Trustees who is stepping down. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: May 13, 2016 at 4:45 p.m.

Seven Board of Trustees members are leaving the University’s highest governing body.

Mark Shenkman, Richard Blackburn, Allan From, George Coelho, Heather Foley, Titilola Harley and Randy Levine have completed their terms and will be stepping down, officials announced at the board’s meeting Friday. Former trustees Mark Hughes, Lydia Thomas and Linda Rabbitt were given the title trustee emeritus.

Two new members were also elected at the Board’s meeting Friday.

Gabbi Baker, a digital marketing supervisor and Judith Rodgers, an education and leadership expert, will join the Board on July 1.

Rodgers, who attended Mount Vernon College, a former women’s college at the site of the Mount Vernon Campus, currently serves on the Mount Vernon National Advisory Council, a committee that promotes of the legacy of the school. She also co-chairs the mentoring program for the Elizabeth Somers Women’s Leadership Program on the Mount Vernon Campus, according to a release.

Baker, a 2013 business school alumna, will be one of the youngest members on the Board. She is an account supervisor at OgilvyOne Worldwide, a digital marketing agency that focuses on combing data and creativity to help business grow and better understand their behaviors, according to a release.

The departing trustees include some of the longest-serving and most influential members of the board in recent history. They were recognized for their service at Friday’s meeting.

“Here’s opportunity for us to take a minute to acknowledge their great service and give them a thank you,” Blackburn, a departing trustee and chair of the Board’s Committee on Nominations and Governance, said.

Shenkman, an alumnus and founder of Shenkman Capital , donated $5 million to University-wide and business school career services. The University renamed Ivory Tower residence hall to Shenkman Hall in 2014.

From served as chair of the Board’s student life committee, and was a former member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. He received an outstanding service award from the alumni association last year.

“Most of you know the day after Allan was born he became chairman of the student affairs committee and has distinguished himself in that role ever since,” Blackburn said.

A 2013 gift from Blackburn, funded the business school’s annual lecture on civility and integrity in business, which serves as a capstone event for the school’s the required first year development course.

“Dick is truly the best counsel you could ever have,” Board Chairmen Nelson Carbonell said.

Levine, president of the New York Yankees, was recognized for his role in GW’s recent athletic successes. He chaired the committee that selected Patrick Nero as athletic director in 2011.

Harley was honored for her work with the graduate school of education, Coelho for his efforts in sustainability and Foley for her 25 years providing advise and counsel to the Board.

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The Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell addressed legacy families at a reception. Jake Amorelli | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell addressed legacy families at a reception. Jake Amorelli | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Elise Zaidi.

Alumni and parents of Class of 2016 graduates gathered at a reception in Alumni House Friday honoring the commitment legacy families show to GW.

Legacy families are families in which more than one member attended or currently attends GW.

Here’s what speakers had to say about the perks of being a GW legacy family:

1. Taking advantage of the community

Matt Manfra, the associate vice president for alumni relations, congratulated the nearly 100 legacy students from the Class of 2016 on officially joining the alumni network.

“We hope that our newest graduates continue to stay in touch and stay active with us,” Manfra said, adding that the GW community is “worldwide, diverse, and ready for you all.”

Manfra also thanked the families for their donations and continued dedication to the University.

“There is a lot of pride in this room,” he said.

2. Watching family graduate

Darrell Darnell, the senior associate vice president for safety and security and a 2014 School of Business alumnus, described the importance of being a GW legacy as he celebrates with his son Eric, who is graduating this weekend.

“With me what this has really been about is watching my son grow before my eyes,” Darnell said.

Like all of the legacy families present, he had the pleasure of having his son attend his alma mater and go from being a young man to a young adult, Darnell said.

3. Strengthening parental bonds

Marguerite Wedeman, an international affairs and Chinese double-major and recipient of the prestigious Schwarzman scholarship, is the daughter of two GW alumni.

Wedeman’s mother, Kelly Eaton, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international affairs and a Ph.D. in political science, while her father, Andrew Wedeman, was born in GW Hospital and earned a bachelor’s in political science and master’s in security policy.

Andrew Wedeman focused on Chinese security policy, and found GW was the perfect fit for his goals, he said. He said that he looks forward to his daughter completing a fully funded master’s program in China, where the family once lived.

“There wasn’t any pressure to come here, but I think my interests line up with my parents interests very closely so it made sense to come to GW,” Marguerite Wedeman said.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Major General Charles Bolden spoke at the commissioning of the Naval ROTC. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

Major General Charles Bolden spoke at the commissioning of the Naval ROTC. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Justine Coleman.

Friends and family filled the Dorothy Marvin Betts Theatre Friday morning to celebrate the 23 graduates of GW’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

Graduates from GW as well as Catholic, Howard and Georgetown universities and the University of Maryland all received commissions from the same program for the last time, as the University of Maryland will begin their own NROTC program next academic year.

Captain Sarah Culbertson, who introduced the Class of 2016, said the ceremony is a significant moment in the students’ military service.

“Though the graduation dates differ among the universities represented, they’ve chosen a single commissioning, which allows them to share in their mutual accomplishment,” she said.

Here are some bits of advice to the graduates from the morning’s speakers:

1. Seize opportunities

Captain James Wyatt said he was “amazed” by the class taking initiative throughout their time in NROTC.

“Leaders from this class took the initiative to make the Navy more visible on our campuses by encouraging members of the battalion to take on active and leadership roles in student government, fraternities, societies and other organizations,” Wyatt said.

Dean Emeritus of the Milken Institute School of Public Health Richard Southby, who stepped in for University President Steven Knapp at the ceremony, congratulated the graduates for seizing the opportunity to belong to NROTC.

“This has meant many more demands on your time, but you have demonstrated that you have the intellectual ability, the commitment and perseverance to achieve your goals in a first class university education and commission in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps,” he said.

2. Take on challenges and do the right thing

Southby said graduates have the duty to help solve world problems.

“I know that you and your colleagues who are being commissioned at many universities or colleges over the next few weeks are ready to serve and serve with honor, courage and commitment,” he said.

Commissioning Speaker Major General Charles Bolden encouraged the Class of 2016 to strive to do the “right thing,” which he said can be the most difficult advice to follow.

“To do the right thing, that’s courage,” Bolden said. “What you should strive to do instinctively is the right thing when someone is being abusive or is being discriminatory or is taking advantage and bullying someone in your group, do the right thing.”

3. Have expertise

Bolden urged graduates to become experts, to never stop learning and to not be afraid of asking questions.

“You don’t know everything,” he said. “You don’t now, and you never will. There’s always going to be somebody in the room that knows more than you do.”

Bolden added that the graduates should always be aware of their own weaknesses.

“Those are the most important characteristics you need to know,” he said. “Your strengths will take you places but knowledge of your weaknesses will keep you from not getting where you wanna go.”

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Amanda Figueroa, a student speaker, addressed doctoral and master's students from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences during a ceremony Friday. Blair Guild | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Amanda Figueroa, a student speaker, addressed doctoral and master’s students from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences during a ceremony Friday. Blair Guild | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Liz Provencher.

Speakers at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences master’s and doctoral program commencement took inspiration from Forrest Gump, cultural theorist Stuart Hall and even Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” to give graduates parting words of wisdom in the Smith Center Friday morning.

The graduates celebrated receiving their degrees by crossing the stage with their babies in tow or by taking selfies.

Here’s what the speakers had to say:

1. The key to success is preparation

Christopher Carrigan, an associate professor of public policy and public administration, admitted to the graduates that his career path has been a “winding one,” as he has done just about everything from professional consulting to playing minor league baseball.

He said that while some may criticize his career choices, one benefit has been finding success in different careers.

The one thing Carrigan said what he has found consistent across all fields is that the key to success is preparation.

“Rarely have a seen a person flourish based on their natural ability alone.” he said.

2. Be like Forrest Gump

Carrigan told graduates that he once told a close friend he wanted to be more like Forrest Gump. Carrigan said he didn’t mean he wanted to be a ping pong player or a war hero, but that he admired Gump’s work ethic.

“I told my friend that I wanted to be more like Forrest Gump, because he is wildly successful simply by taking advantage of the opportunities given to him.” he said.

Work ethic like Gump’s will give students confidence that they will achieve success, because they know they will do everything in their power to achieve their goals, Carrigan said.

3. Follow your heart and take lessons with you

Amanda Figueroa, a student speaker who graduated with a master’s in American Studies, drew inspiration from a quote by cultural theorist Stuart Hall. “It’s worth remembering that all discourse is placed and the heart has its reasons,” Hall once said.

Figueroa said when she heard this quote for the first time, it confirmed her plan to follow her heart by pursuing a master’s degree at GW. She reminded her fellow graduates that no matter where they may go, they can learn from the places they’ve been and can carry lessons with them.

4. Stay thirsty

Vinson reminded the graduates that they have been exposed to a breadth of opportunities while at GW, and they are more prepared for what lies ahead than ever before.

He left students with one main piece of advice: Stay inquisitive and stay thirsty. After pausing for a quick chuckle the dean quoted Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” by telling the graduates, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Former Provost Steven Lerman, center, hooded his wife, Lori J. Lerman, at the doctoral hooding ceremony Thursday. Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman, right, delivered remarks at the event. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

Former Provost Steven Lerman, center, hooded his wife, Lori J. Lerman, at the doctoral hooding ceremony Thursday. Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman, right, delivered remarks at the event. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman asked the 317 doctoral candidates at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony Thursday to uphold academic integrity and broaden their academic horizons.

“Very likely, most of you here today will be leaders in the community you choose,” Maltzman said. “Lead by example.”

Maltzman’s message was in three parts: keep learning, broaden your horizons and always uphold principles of academic integrity. He stressed the importance of “breaking out of the disciplinary box” that often traps scholars, and urged students to explore new fields over the course of their lives.

“Kindle again and again the flame of knowledge,” Maltzman said.

Lastly, Maltzman emphasized the importance of morals as crucial cornerstones of character in future leaders.

The doctoral charge is an integral part of the roughly 900-year-old traditional ceremony, that first began when doctoral students started using the hood to display their academic regalia. Today, the trims of each hood are colored different to indicate what degree the holder bears.

The result was a rainbow procession of hoods and robes – dark blue for the doctor of philosophy and psychology degrees, orange for the doctor of science, light blue for the doctor of education – that filtered into the Smith Center to the pomp provided by Potomac Brass.

The dean of each school called out the names of their students one by one to the center, where the faculty adviser that worked closely with the student hooded each with the color of their degree.

During the ceremony, former Provost Steven Lerman hooded his wife Lori J. Lerman for her Doctor in Nursing Practice, taking the place of her advocate Christine Pintz.

Before closing his message to the graduates, Maltzman also added a quick reference to Steve Jobs.

“Make good use of your degrees, make good use of your lives, and think differently,” Maltzman said.

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Michael Tapscott, the director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, addresses graduating students at a ceremony. Jake Amorelli | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Michael Tapscott, the director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, addresses graduating students at a ceremony. Jake Amorelli | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Crystel Sylvester.

Students connected to the Multicultural Student Services Center celebrated commencement in a ceremony Thursday.
Speakers told them to keep fighting against aggressions and misperceptions about their marginalized communities.

The ceremony, held in Lisner Auditorium, featured student speakers from various multicultural communities and organizations on campus.

Here are some of the highlights from the ceremony:

1. Student activism

Vanessa Perry, the interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion, told the graduates that she was proud of them for advocating for their communities on every level – at GW and on the national level, like after events on the University of Missouri’s campus.

She closed her speech telling students that “black lives matter.”

She also reminded graduates to be proud of themselves, especially because many of them were a part of communities from which people are less earn bachelor’s degrees.

2. The mark of leadership and relationship

Michael Tapscott, the director of the MSSC, gave the graduates guidelines for leadership.

“Have confidence – show up, show off and move on,” he said.

He also led the graduates through an exercise in which they spoke to five people in the room that they did not know, reminding them to build relationships throughout their careers.

“There is something to be said for lifelong relationships,” he said.

3. A home away from home

Tapscott reminded the graduates that no matter how far they ended up from D.C., the MSSC would always be there when they come back.

“Today, your undergrad legacy is established,” he said.

Ahana Das, a student speaker from the South Asian community, said that as an international student from Singapore, the MSSC gave her a home away from home.

“I’ll use the word that my name is often mixed up with – ‘Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind,’” she said.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell, Senior Class Gift coordinators Kristen Barnes, Juman Kekhia and Cindy Swanson and University President Steven Knapp celebrated reaching a goal of 62 percent participation from seniors in the annual fundraising campaign. Ashley Le  | Hatchet Photographer

Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell, Senior Class Gift coordinators Kristen Barnes, Juman Kekhia and Cindy Swanson, and University President Steven Knapp celebrated reaching a goal of 62 percent participation from seniors in the annual fundraising campaign. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

The Class of 2016 set a new participation record in their annual fundraising campaign, with 62.7 percent of seniors donating a total of $87,553.

That total was about $40,000 less than last year’s gift, which holds a class gift record at $128,000. The Class of 2015 also previously held the participation record, with 60 percent.

This year’s campaign will continue accepting donations to the campaign until June 30.

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, who has matched donations to the gift in past years, thanked the senior class for their donations.

“Today we proudly acknowledge you as new alumni for the George Washington University, but more importantly, donors and supporters for the future,” Carbonell said.

University President Steven Knapp called the senior class “extraordinarily dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.”

“That’s why you’ve come here, to make history,” he said, invoking the name of GW’s $1 billion campaign. “You’ve done that, and you’re helping us do that today with this gift.”

The Senior Class Gift is a decades-old tradition that encourages seniors to contribute to the University before graduating. Students can donate to any program, organization or department they wish, and a series of events throughout the year, like happy hours, give students multiple opportunities to make a donation.

Juman Kekhia, the lead coordinator of the campaign, presented Knapp with the check at Thursday’s event, along with assistant coordinators Kristen Barnes and Cindy Swanson. Kekhia said encouraging a high number of students to donate any amount was more important than raising a six-figure number because it motivates more students to give to GW in the future.

“Rather than getting in peoples faces asking for large amounts of money, we wanted to really push the idea that you’re giving back and that’s what matters,” Kekhia said. “That’s what we wanted to cement in seniors’ minds.”

Swanson said donating a small amount now could inspire students to give larger amounts in the years to come.

“It’s important that students, they contribute what they can, and that’re more important,” Swanson said. “Maybe as they go on in life that will change, but just staying involved at any level is really important.”

The coordinators of the campaign set a record participation goal this year, asking 62 percent of the senior class to donate. This year’s campaign focused especially on increasing participation from members of the Greek life community.

Kekhia said a series of last-minute fundraising pushes helped push the campaign over the edge. In April, a parent and alumnus promised a $10,000 gift if 250 new donations were made during the month.

Kekhia said participation increased significantly during that month, unlocking the gift. Gifts of this kind are common for the senior campaign – during last year’s campaign, an anonymous donor spent a week matching gifts up to $3,000.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said that as final gifts to the campaign roll in, he hopes that senior participation may hit 63 or 64 percent.

“Anytime we can achieve our goals and raise higher and do all that we can, we want to celebrate,” Konwerski said. “These are an amazing group of graduates and we’re happy to have had them for four years, but also to have them as alumni for life.”

Aristide Collins, the vice president of development and alumni relations, said the Senior Class Gift will contribute to the University’s major fundraising campaign, which is set to raise $1 billion by June 2018. The campaign has raised $852 million as of April 27.

“It starts them on the path to be generous alumni donors in the future,” Collins said. “This is always a nice way to celebrate their commencement, their ceremony, their achievement, but also it shows how committed they are to giving back to the university.”

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Tywan Wade, the student speaker at the business school's ceremony, encouraged fellow graduates to XX. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

Tywan Wade, the student speaker at the business school’s ceremony, encouraged fellow graduates to support one another. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Crystel Sylvester.

Business school undergraduates learned at their commencement celebration Thursday that ambition and selflessness are cornerstones of business success.

Dean of the School of Business Linda Livingstone, guest speakers and student speakers all highlighted important lessons from their collegiate and professional careers to guide graduates to stay connected to the GW community.

Here are the most inspirational pieces of advice given to the graduates:

1. Wear your hats proudly

Mitch Blasér, the chief operating officer of Ironshore, began his address describing the kind of hats graduates will have to wear.

“I see a lot of graduation caps out here today, and I thought it was important for you all to know that when you leave here, you’ll have to wear many, many hats,” he said.

Blasér pulled out several caps at the beginning of his address, including the NIT Colonials cap and his GW alumni hat.

He urged graduates to be proud to wear their alumni hat, because “this one might actually get you a job.” He said that the more the community helped each other, the more influential the community would become.

Livingstone also said graduates have a responsibility to their alma mater, and that they should “build on the legacy.”

2. Raise your hands

Blasér also noted the importance of taking initiative in the business world. He said that in business, people like to work with people who “get things done.”

“Be known as a go-to person, and people will go to you,” he said.

He urged graduates to not get caught in “it’s not my job” syndrome. He said that it’s important to not care about immediate gratification.

“Life is about choices, and we don’t have many,” he said.

Wade also pushed his peers to look past their setbacks and “non-believers.”

“To everyone that has haters, know this: one day you’ll be up on a stage in front of 3,000 people, and they’ll have no choice but to listen to you,” he said.

3. Look ahead and make history

Student speaker Tywan Wade, who was the youngest student to run for Student Association president as a freshman in 2013, emphasized the importance of peer support.

“Why do we support the dreams of our celebrities, but not our peers? I think if we did, the world would be a better place,” he said.

Wade told his fellow graduates that their accomplishments inspired him. He reminded them to look to the future, citing his failed run for SA president.

“The past doesn’t define us, so promise me you won’t be afraid of the future,” he said.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com/2016-GW-Commencement-Week

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