“Your integrity will define your reputation and your reputation is the most important asset you will bring to your personal and professional life,” Donna Marie Randall, PhD, chief executive officer of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, advised more than 400 students who received their master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates at the University of Hartford’s Graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
Randall, who served as provost at the University from 2000–07, told the graduates they will be called upon to lead. She explained that people follow those they trust and implored the students to choose the right path.
University of Hartford President Walter Harrison presented both Randall, and Miriam Therese “M.T.” Winter, PhD, who joined the Hartford Seminary in 1980 to establish a department of liturgy, worship, and spirituality, with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.
“M.T. Winter and Donna Randall are great examples of people who have done just what all of us hope you will do,” said Harrison. “Use what you have learned here, blend it with your own human gifts, and make this world a better place for us all and for many generations.”
Harrison encouraged the students to focus on what they have in common, despite their intellectual differences. “You represent the best prepared scholars, artists, educators, and practitioners of your generation,” he said. “And you are inheriting a world that is adrift, uncertain of what to do next, and in need of your insight and wisdom.
“Our world is in need of improvement, our lives are in need of direction, and our souls are in need of nourishment,” Harrison said. “Your faculty here have prepared you to take on these daunting tasks. They have confidence in you. Today, by granting these degrees, your University is saying ‘We concur.’ The task is great, but we know you are up to it. So go forth in whatever field you choose and do well, but also always remember to do good.”
On Sunday, May 15, social activist Kennedy Owiti Odede will be the keynote speaker at the University’s Undergraduate Commencement, where 1,000 students will receive bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. A former street child who lived most of his life in one of Africa’s largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya, Odede founded Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) with savings from his $1-per-day factory job.
For photos and more biographical information about the Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, as well as audio and video clips from the ceremony, visit hartford.edu.