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Words of Wisdom from the 2023 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremony



July 7, 2023

Decked in Dragon Blue, hundreds of CoAS graduates filed into the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on June 15 for the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony. Before graduates walked across the stage, speakers took to the podium to share personal stories of their time at Drexel and send off the newest class of Forever Dragons with encouragement and inspiration. Read what they had to say below and click here to watch a recording of the full ceremony

Undergraduate Student Speaker: María Paula Mijares Torres

“The truth is that today we are each completing a different journey. But there is one thing that we all have in common: we’re the most hardworking, yet humble students I know. Not only because we have mastered the art of time management thanks to the fast-paced quarter system, but also because of the academic and professional exploration that is encouraged here at Drexel. We got to discover what we liked (or didn’t like) while we were on co-op, and we used those unique opportunities to improve ourselves. We don’t let a fancy name on our diplomas do the talking; it is our experiences and skills that get us further. 

So, after all the hard work we’ve done, I think we’ve earned the chance to celebrate and—just for today—we can finally let our ambition wait. But fear not, we’ll be back tomorrow to take on the world.” 

Graduate Student Speaker: Monique D. Clark

“The motto of our college is: ‘The World Won’t Wait. Neither Will We.’ And we didn’t. Amidst the chaos twirling around us and the ambivalence that suffocated humanity globally, we were immediately thrust into 10-week quarters, and for the next two years, we experienced a whirlwind of intensive workloads, co-ops, and no summer breaks. Then add to that, the additional responsibilities of full-time jobs and families that many of you carry. 

In Theodore Roosevelt’s speech ‘Citizen in a Republic,’ he commended the likes of us sitting here today. He said that the credit belongs not to the critic, but to those who found the audacity to actually get in the arena—those whose faces were marred by dust and sweat and blood. That is us.  

We began our programs uncertain, but excited. Each quarter, we showed up and confronted every challenge with all that we had. And when we became exhausted, we dug deeper into our souls and found more—more grit, more stamina, and we became more relentless in our determination.” 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo

“As you graduate today and move forward, how will you define success?  

May I offer you a challenge? Make success about the internal things you have in your control. Your attitude, your perspective, and your character. No one can take those from you, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of what’s happening to you, regardless of what’s going on in the world.  

Because sometimes you achieve exactly what you set out to do. And other times, things don’t work out as you hoped. But when you believe that success is not about what happens to you, it’s about how you interpret it, even in the struggles, even in the challenging times, you can find the rich rewards in every season.   

Success is coming your way, Class of 2023. How will you interpret it?”