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Advice for the Graduates

15 May 2013 One Comment
Class of 2012 graduates celebrate (Photo by Tracey Brown)

Class of 2012 graduates celebrate (Photo by Tracey Brown)

In preparing materials for the commencement program, we asked the members of the platform party what advice they would have for the UMB Class of 2013. Here are some of their remarks:

Keynote Speaker
Stanley A. McChrystal, MS, MA
Retired four-star general

“Whatever your professional training is, your positions of leadership are going to require you to empathize with the communities you serve, and with the individuals you lead. You won’t be able to cure every ill, but you should work hard to understand as deeply as possible the circumstances that affect those around you. This year’s UMB graduates are all tremendously talented at this point, and many of you will be greatly empowered by positions and resources. The temptation can be to start pulling levers before you have the chance to fully empathize. But that is often the difference between truly inspirational leadership, and something less.”

Honorary Degree Recipient
Janet Woodcock, MD
(Honorary Doctor of Science)
Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration

“Be mindful about yourself—what are your strengths, where are you challenged? Most successful people have learned to compensate for, or improve, their weak areas. For example, some people have good interpersonal skills, but are disorganized. Others are the opposite. Success comes as much from shoring up those weak areas as from playing to your strengths.”

Honorary Degree Recipient
Robert M. Bell, JD
(Honorary Doctor of Laws)
Chief Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals

“All graduates should be sure to become familiar with the key traits that will make them successful in their personal and professional lives. For future lawyers, in particular, that means to exhibit the core values of personal integrity, competency, civility, independence, and public service that distinguish lawyers as the caretakers of the Rule of Law.

“Lawyers are entrusted with the privilege of practicing law. They take a firm oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Maryland. Lawyers enjoy a distinct position of trust and confidence that carries the significant responsibility and obligation to be caretakers for the system of justice that is essential to the continuing existence of a civilized society. Each lawyer, therefore, as a custodian of our system of justice, must be conscious of this responsibility and exhibit traits that reflect a personal responsibility to recognize, honor, and enhance the Rule of Law in this society.”

Honorary University Marshal
Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean Emeritus, School of Nursing

“I think I would re-emphasize what I told them last year when I gave the convocation speech to the [nursing] students. I told them to find mentors as they move about in their lives as nurses. This also applies to other disciplines. Mentors at different times in my career have been so important to my success and my sanity. Because sometimes in a new job or in graduate school you can feel very isolated and very lonely so mentors are essential. And not just one mentor because you need different kinds of mentors at different stages of your career. Graduates can use a mentor they’ve already had in their academic program or they can find a mentor at their new job or graduate program. That’s my advice.”

Honorary Faculty Marshal
Elaine Romberg, PhD
Professor, School of Dentistry

“You have worked very hard to achieve your degree. Serving others is an honorable vocation. I hope that you receive great joy in your chosen profession.”

Honorary Student Marshal
Norman F. Capra, PhD, MS
Professor, School of Dentistry

“Today marks another step in your personal success stories.  As you leave the University of Maryland, remember each of you has the potential to achieve greatness.  To realize this potential, make every effort to learn your inner self.  Be true to your inner self and in doing so you will be of the greatest benefit to others.” 

Honorary Student Marshal
Julianne Oktay, PhD, MSW
Professor, School of Social Work

“We are always trying to predict the future and prepare for it. But I think that the only thing you can be certain of is that you will face a lot of change. You need to be able to adapt. One thing I think I can advise for certain: Never lose your sense of humor! Your skills, knowledge, and intelligence will get you through the good times, but you will need a sense of humor to get you through the rest.”

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