Carol A Goss, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, challenged graduates to pursue their passions and strive for success during University of Michigan-Dearborn’s commencement ceremony December 15.
“You will find there is something greater for you, something greater than you ever imagined,” said Goss, as she delivered the keynote address. “As you depart from this wonderful institution, I challenge you to sacrifice, serve and keep the faith. I hope that your education here has equipped you to meet the challenges that life can bring.”
More than 600 students participated in the December commencement ceremony, held at the university’s Fieldhouse. The ceremony included the conferral of 471 undergraduate degrees and 163 graduate degrees, including the university’s first doctoral degree to Xuan Zhou.
UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little commended not only the students and their families for the sacrifices they’ve made over the years, but also the university’s faculty and staff who guided them along the way.
“We take such pride in your accomplishments,” Little said.
Regent Andrew Richner, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kate Davy, State Rep. Lesia Liss (B.A. ’07), William E. Stirton Professor Jonathan Smith and student Gabrielle Boyer also addressed the graduates.
Friends and family members began arriving at the Fieldhouse around 12:30 p.m. to secure a prime viewing location. Among them was Nick DeCirce’s family, who traveled from New York to watch him graduate.
“Having everyone here is pretty great,” said DeCirce, who earned a master’s degree in public administration while working full time. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do with all my free time.”
The university recognized six students as Chancellor’s Medallion winners during the ceremony, honoring them for their academic record, character, intellect and integrity:
- Redford resident Austin Abair, College of Business;
- Canton resident Stephanie Cosby, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters;
- Canton resident Brooke Holman, School of Education;
- Westland resident Mike Gardner, College of Engineering and Computer Science;
- Canton resident Amanda Raupp, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters; and
- Livonia resident Josef Zenicki, College of Business.
Addressing her classmates, Boyer, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, said, “We are achievers in scholastics, in sports, in community volunteerism, in internships and coops, in clubs and students orgs, in juggling school, work and home, in life after graduation. We fall head over heals in love with what we do, get in over our heads, mess up, get back up and do it all over again.
“That is how I know we’ll be all right. Because we are Michigan—and we have the degree that makes the difference.”
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