A Message from Catherine Koverola, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
It’s commencement season, and at Lesley University we just had ours. Commencement is a wonderful occasion of celebration and pageantry, complete with colorful hooded robes, stirring music, eloquent speeches, and heartfelt expressions of gratitude. Hearing the graduates thank those who so generously provided the scaffolding and support along their often arduous journey to graduation is so moving to me. I always walk with tissues in hand when commencement related activities begin to populate my calendar.One of our Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients this year was Priya Manickchand, Minister of Education in Guyana. She spoke eloquently about the power of one person to make a difference, citing the example of Margaret Clemmons. Margaret, a private investigator from New York City who had occasion to visit Guyana on business was moved to make a difference in the small Caribbean nation. It was Margaret’s passion to make a difference that inspired the vision for what eventually led to 13 Guyanese students completing a graduate degree that has equipped them to address issues of trauma and violence within their communities. These are graduates who now have the skills to assess and intervene in a culturally relevant way with children, families and communities in need of healing and hope. As the students were preparing to graduate, a plan began to take shape to build upon the program, with our graduates serving as co-instructors and local supervisors for a group of 45 additional clinicians. Margaret’s vision began with a simple conversation, yet the impact has been multiplicative, with hundreds of lives already touched by the work of our graduates. To be sure, there were what seemed at times to be insurmountable obstacles in the delivery and implementation of this low residency program. What stands out for me is the truth that one person can make a difference; that one bold visionary conversation can lead to amazing outcomes. What would happen if we each dared to dream boldly and to love boldly?As I watched graduates from our Counseling and Psychology, Expressive Therapies, Creative Writing, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Intercultural Relations programs cross the stage, I thought about the exciting new paths they are set to embark upon. Our mission at Lesley is to empower change agents — be they clinicians, social entrepreneurs, artists and writers, educators, or cross-cultural leaders. They are bold in their vision and mindful in their actions. Lesley graduates truly make incredible things happen. Please visit my blog at most recent blog entry and join the conversation with GSASS!
Catherine KoverolaDean, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
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