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Fall 2017 Commencement Advice to Grads

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Commencement Cap

As Fall 2017 Commencement approaches with more than 570 grads expected to participate, those moving on in the world have some advice and kind words for their peers.

Graduate Kelsey Branch, who is receiving her MBA in Kogod, called her fellow classmates her heroes. “Whatever field of study is written on your degree, you will go out into this uncertain world and face it with curiosity, optimism, hope, and grace.”

Branch, who commuted to campus every week after work to finish her degree, advised graduates to have the confidence, ability, and courage to resolve differences and unravel today’s most complicated issues.

“You are brave and your minds are free,” she said. “Regardless of how many problems face us, I firmly believe that this place has good bones and that we can leave it better than we found it.”

School of Public Affairs graduate Gordon-Andrew Fletcher said grads must endeavor to work for the present and the future alike, being diligent, steadfast, and resolute in their quests to achieve their goals.

Graduating with an MA in Public Administration & Policy he called on grads to look at what ignites a passion inside them. “We must all recognize what are the things that set our souls on fire and focus on keeping that flame alive forever.”

As former President of the Graduate Leadership Council, Fletcher said he cherished his time at American University and the professors and administrators that have made his tenure as a graduate student memorable. “American has provided me with so many opportunities that I wanted to make sure I gave back to my institution as well.”

Violet Slepoy, an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences whose receiving her BA in Art History, said all those graduating are a beautiful testament to AU’s potential. She said their time here wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t easy by design.

“In your future endeavors, fellow students, I wish you great luck, but I also wish that we will realize that adversity is not to be feared,” she said. “It is the set of circumstances upon which we emancipate ourselves. Congratulations, Class of 2017, on your resilience and strength of courage to defy the odds and evolve into the most emancipated versions of yourselves.”

There will be a link to a livestream of commencement on the Fall 2017 Commencement homepage.