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2015 Graduate Commencement Ceremony Speaker Urges University of Hartford Students to Prepare for a Rapidly Evolving Job Market


Posted 05/16/2015
Posted by David Isgur


“I know that each of you will be embarking on a career for which you hope you are prepared, although it’s likely that it isn’t necessarily the one for which you actually have prepared,” Maria Cattaui, former secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, told the more than 400 students who received their master’s, certificates, and doctoral degrees at the University of Hartford’s Graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

Maria Cattaui, former secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, delivers the Commencement Address to more than 400 graduate students, along with their families and friends.“The careers, the jobs that you pursue from now on will mutate pretty quickly, more than at any other period in history,” said Cattaui, who was presented with an honorary Doctor of Commercial Sciences at the ceremony. In addition, honorary degrees were presented by the University to actor, singer, and composer Clifton Davis; internationally acclaimed architect Tai Soo Kim; and legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins (who received a standing ovation from those in attendance).

Cattaui, who helped establish a global partnership between business and the United Nations, leading to greater business input into United Nations economic activities, told the graduates that, “The people I respect most are those who push us outside our comfort [zones] who are able to bring clarity to confusion, who design new paths, who anticipate the important changes and difficulties we must address…This is something that many of you, I hope, will do in your careers because I believe we need more such people in all professions.”

In his remarks to the students at Saturday’s graduate Commencement ceremony, University of Hartford President Walter Harrison said, “I hope your graduate study here has been a rewarding intellectual experience. I hope you have acquired the knowledge and skills through your graduate education that will last a lifetime. Even more importantly, however, I hope you have learned some lessons of character that will lead to rich and rewarding lives of service to others.”

Harrison told them about a conversation with a University faculty member who poses the following question to his students — “What are three things will people who are attending your funeral say about you?”

“I love this question in the context of graduate education, especially in the types of graduate programs we offer, which are primarily focused on education in the professions and arts,” Harrison said. “You do learn professional and artistic skills here, but this question focuses directly on the questions of character that will not only help you to be successful in your career, but also help you shape a career—whether that is in business, communication, health care, neuroscience, education, psychology, or the arts—that puts service to others ahead of personal success.”

At the University’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17, the nearly 1,100 students receiving bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and their families and friends will hear from keynote speaker Caryl M. Stern, who is leading efforts to protect children around the world as president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

For photographs and more biographical information on the Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, as well as audio and video clips from the ceremony, click here.