Moisés Naím, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke to graduates of the School of International Service about how their degrees are "passports." "Your 'passport' is likely to give you power," he said. "In today's world, power is easier to gain, and easier to lose." Naím received an honorary doctor of international affairs degree.
Student speaker Zachary K. Fleischmann also spoke. "Our heart is reflected in how we use our head," he said. "But what we should come to understand today is that being guided by values and equipped with knowledge is not enough, because they must be brought into the world through the work of our hands."
Several students received awards during the ceremony: Lauren R. Barr received the University Student Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level, and Robert Helbig at the Undergraduate Level. Daniel Alejandro Leon Calles received the Fletcher Scholar Award, and Yanique J. Campbell received the Harold Johnson Award.
Dean James M. Goldgeier paid tribute to Professor Linda Lucia Lubrano, who is retiring from the School of International Service following a distinguished 45-year tenure.
Addressing graduates of the Kogod School of Business, mogul and American University alumnus Gary Veloric said, "Start your life with your own clean sheet of paper, and don't be afraid to stop if you need to erase something and make changes." President Neil Kerwin and Provost Scott Bass presented Veloric with an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Undergraduate speaker Lien Tran added, "We have the privilege, the energy, and the tools of a well-rounded, multi-cultural education to ensure, as often as every day of our lives, that profit and purpose are not at odds."
Mercedes M. Beras-Goico Canalda received the Charles C. Glover Award.
Renowned medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer spoke to graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and received an honorary doctor of science degree. "Your paths will lead to unexpected engagements," Farmer said. "The connections you made here will last a lifetime."
Student Mariam Sameh Aziz also spoke, telling graduates, "Let us not forget our own voices and that they matter. In this age of globalization, do not become lost in the sea of people."
Several award winners were also recognized during the ceremony: Andrey Verendeev received the University Student Award for Outstanding Scholar at the Doctoral Level, and Andrew Paul Merluzzi at the Undergraduate Level. Carley Rose DeFranco received the Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Award, and Mohamed Nazran Baba received the Carlton Savage Award. Stephen A. Bronskill, who also graduated from the School of Public Affairs, was recognized as the winner of the Stafford H. Cassell Award and the President's Award.
School of Communication alumnus Darryl Frank, co-president of DreamWorks Television, addressed SOC graduates, telling them, “Find what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and devour it.” Frank received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the ceremony. Graduate speaker Kari Barber and undergraduate speaker Sylvia R. Brookoff also addressed graduates.
Student award winners included Joseph Patrick Corcoran, who received both the University Student Award for Outstanding Service and the Charles W. Van Way Award, and Douglas R. Bell, who received the Bruce Hughes Award.
Dean Jeffrey Rutenbeck honored Professors Wendell Cochran and John C. Doolittle, both of whom are celebrating their retirement from the School of Communication.
Addressing graduates of the School of Public Affairs, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, “This school and the path you have chosen have given you the ability to make an incredible difference.” President Neil Kerwin and Provost Scott Bass presented Jackson with an honorary doctor of public service degree.
Graduate speaker Marley A. Rave also addressed graduates. “Leadership is no longer optional, but mandatory, and history is not something you'll watch, but something you'll make,” Rave said.
Several students were recognized with awards: Sarah Elizabeth McBride received both the Kinsman-Hurst Award and the University Student Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community, and Emily Joyce Yu received the Cathryn Seckler-Hudson Award. Stephen A. Bronskill, who also graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Stafford H. Cassell Award and the President’s Award, the highest honor presented to a graduating senior.