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Campus & Community

Commencement 2019: A Celebration of Achievements and a Look Towards the Future

June 17, 2019

Forever Dragons on the field prior to the event.

Drexel University celebrated its Class of 2019 at its University-wide commencement held June 14 at Citizens Bank Park. The hardworking graduates celebrated all their accomplishments at Drexel with their family and friends at a ceremony held in one of Philly’s most cherished landmarks.

After walking on the stage at their individual college and school ceremonies last week (or, for the College of Medicine and Kline School of Law Dragons last month), the graduating students came together at the ballpark for an inspirational ceremony featuring 2019 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Kenneth C. Frazier, CEO and chairman of Merck & Co., Inc. And the big event ended with a bang — literally, with fireworks.

Drexel President John Fry used the momentous occasion to congratulate Dragons for their intellectual gifts, hard work and perseverance that propelled them through their Drexel education. His official commencement address also offered advice for what lies ahead for these Dragons. He encouraged students to continue the Drexel tradition of civic engagement in order to become productive global citizens.

Drexel President John Fry addressed graduates and their families at the park, imploring Dragons to become global citizens of the world.
Drexel President John Fry addressed graduates and their families at the park, imploring Dragons to become global citizens of the world.

“You are citizens of the world … active, caring, informed and involved citizens of the world,” he told graduates. “I can say that with confidence because of the strong tradition of civic engagement that’s a vital part of who we are at Drexel — a tradition most of you have experienced firsthand. And an appetite for civic engagement is the basic ingredient for productive world citizenship.”

President Fry also quoted Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, who said, “We need to keep our eyes on the stars and our feet on the ground.”

“As Drexel graduates, you are well prepared to maintain that balance as you expand your participation as world citizens while pursuing the careers you’ve been so well prepared for,” said Fry.

Drexel’s 2019 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient is an example of that kind of “practicing world citizen,” Fry said. In addition to running one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Frazier is known for his significant contributions to business, law and social justice. And in his speech, the Merck CEO and chairman shared some of the wisdom he’d gleaned over his career with Dragons.

“Success rises from the ashes of failure, so I want you to welcome the risk of failure. That’s the first thing. But I also want you to think hard about what it means to truly succeed,” said Frazier, who added that his personal greatest moment of success in his career wasn’t defined by promotions or raises, but for representing and freeing a man who was on death row wrongfully convicted of murder.

The Phillie Phanatic was on hand during the pre-commencement celebrations.
The Phillie Phanatic was on hand during the pre-commencement celebrations.

“Those are the kinds of successes in which one can take the greatest pride and the greatest satisfaction,” he said. “So no matter what direction your career takes, you have the tools because of the education you received at Drexel to create genuine value for others. Don’t let those tools go to waste. Strive in whatever you do to make a difference. Stay open to unexpected opportunities to make a positive impact on other people’s lives. And when those opportunities arise — and they will — seize them.”

This year marked the University’s 131st commencement and its fourth hosted at Citizens Bank Park. To hype up the crowds, “Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies” legend, Drexel parent and longtime friend of the University Dan Baker was on hand as the master of ceremonies during the big event, and the Phillie Phanatic waddled around the pre-commencement festivities at Citizens Bank Way for hugs, selfies and high-fives.

Did you miss the ceremony? Just want to relive those special moments? Check out the special commencement-themed photo recap below. Want more? You can watch Drexel ceremonies here. And if you want to see how Dragons are celebrating graduation, scroll through the #ForeverDragons hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and visit the individual University, college and school social media accounts.