10 Inspirational Quotes From Drexel’s 2022 University-wide Commencement
There’s a lot to be said about everything the Class of 2022 has experienced and accomplished during their time at Drexel University — and even more about what they’re capable of doing next. The speakers who took to the podium at the University-wide Commencement ceremony on June 9 shared advice, thoughts and messages that left Dragons with much to reflect upon and analyze.
“Think of how far you already have come. And you are just getting started as learners and doers. For learning, there will never be a shortage of resources and options available to you – including opportunities to further your education through advanced study and practice. When it comes to lessening suffering, you will never run out of problems to solve, wrongs to right, and existential threats to our democracy and planetary health to meet head on. The question now is, how will you keep the momentum for learning and civic engagement at full throttle?” — Drexel University President John Fry.
“Taste this moment. Think about your family all around you. Think about the obstacles you’ve overcome. You have made it. You are here. And in that moment in the future, when you’re feeling down, think back to this moment with the love all around you, with your classmates being a graduate of this fine university.” — Commencement speaker and president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, PhD.
“But most important, the similarities between when I graduated and now that you’re graduating. We were in the middle of [the Vietnam War]. We’ve been going through the civil rights challenges…. We’ve had the assassination of President [John F.] Kennedy several years before Dr. King had been assassinated. And what is the point? We were in the middle of many crises and the question was, would we be okay? But somehow, with the help of the next president [Lyndon B. Johnson] and the legislation and the Voting Rights Act and the Higher Education Act and the Civil Rights Act, we made it through that period and America made more progress. The same thing as we are here today.
“As we talk about gun violence, as we talk about the war, the global war going on right now for democracy, as we talk about voting rights, the challenge is for us to think about what each of us can do to believe in ourselves. We are a great country. What makes us great, though, is that we know we can be better and we want to do that. You become a part of the generation of leaders to make it better. And so, I challenge you to think about who you are, what you will be doing, what difference you will make.” — UMBC President Hrabowski.
“We join the first cohort of college students to graduate with no active memory of a pre-9/11 world. By many means, we are a generation has grown into a society that has been shaped by conflict. The centerfold of our education was upended by a pandemic which we continue to feel the sting of. We have participated in a once-in-a-generation civil rights movement and one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern American history, in case you forgot about that one. Today we face the largest geopolitical conflict in Europe since World War II. And we grieve for victims who have lost their lives to unnecessary and preventable gun violence.
“And I know you probably weren’t expecting such a depressing start to a college graduation speech, but there is a point to the aforementioned. Over the past few years, we could have given up. We could have tossed in the white flag, fell to the wayside, and no one would have thought twice about it. However, if you are here tonight, either as a graduate, a family member, a loved one, a friend, or an administrator – it is because you did the opposite. When life got tough, we grew resilient. We did so because we belong to the Drexel community, and the Drexel community does not wait for the world to deliver on its own. Instead, we pursue the world because we know the world cannot wait. There are lives to be saved. There are supply chains to be connected. There are roads and bridges to be built and revitalized. There are industries that need creativity breathed into them yet again. And now, more than ever, there are rights to be fought for.” — Jarod Watson, BS entertainment and arts management ‘22, former president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association.
“This was one of the greatest lessons I learned during my time at Drexel: sometimes trying to see the best in someone ends up in them presenting the best version of themselves to you. And it was this way how I came to realize, slowly but surely, how unique and special our Drexel community truly is, and how much I’m going to miss this place.” — Luis Rebollar Tercero, PhD chemical and biological engineering ‘22, former president of the Graduate Student Association.
“What is the message that people gave me to give to you? First, be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone else define who you are. Number two: Don’t forget what it’s taken to get here. Feel good about the courage and the stress that you and your families and the entire University, all of you use to get to this point. Number three: We all get knocked down, but we get back up — resilience, or grit. We talk at my University a lot about grit. I know you do, too. And number four, as [one of the Drexel students he met with] said, in a very, very humble way: Never forget your moral compass – the importance of knowing the difference between right and wrong and doing the right thing…. But most important: continue to seek the truth. The truth in the long run will set us free. There’s something about the truth that is so critical to the human spirit.” — UMBC President Hrabowski.
Ambition is not a narrow path to success, and it is not a path that we climb alone. The greater ambition is to elevate our peers and communities — to apply our creativity and ambition to the big questions and challenges embedded in our society and industries. Graduates, you have supported each other through a difficult period, and you have much to be proud of. The world needs the empathy, perspectives and skills that you have demonstrated time and again over the past few years.” — Executive Vice President, Nina Henderson Provost, and University Professor of Drexel University Paul Jensen, PhD.
“Whether you are leading a family, a team, a company, a university, or a country, you cannot truly succeed in any endeavor by strutting, by shutting others out, or by demanding conformity. As another one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, once said, ‘Lead from the back, and let others believe they are in front.’” — President Fry.
“As you listen to today’s distinguished speakers, I encourage you to reflect upon the journey that has led you here today and the people who helped you along the way! And know that when you officially turn your tassel, this journey will have reached its spectacular conclusion and you will have truly earned the right to be known as a Drexel alum. Every university commencement signifies a new beginning for its graduates, and I am eager to see all the things you will accomplish!” — Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management Evelyn Thimba.
“Choose inspirational role models for lifelong learning and service to humankind. And find great mentors to teach, inspire and guide you every step of the way.” — President Fry.