Commencement 2013: speakers, stories, photos, and video
Saturday, May 18, 2013
At 10:00 am on a sunny spring day, Lesley University held the first of its two commencement ceremonies. Graduating students of the Class of 2013 Graduate School of Education and Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences processed to their chairs, led by Faculty Marshals professors Branca Ribeiro and Solange de Azambuja Lira. After a welcome by Board of Trustees Chair Deborah Schwartz Raizes and remarks by President Joseph B. Moore, honorary and graduate degrees were presented. Lesley University expected to confer 1,740 master's degrees and 23
doctoral degrees during this morning's graduate Commencement ceremony. President Moore addressed the crowd, saying that “(Commencement) is an event that celebrates what’s been accomplished, but also, it attempts to describe how those accomplishments are a foundation for a new future. Your graduate degree is not just a personal benefit. … A graduate degree is also expected to be a public benefit where the degree holder adds value to the life of another individual. … A Lesley education, at its best, supports individual autonomy, professional practice, and a contribution to a common good that are the cornerstone of democratic societies.”First to receive an honorary degree was The Reverend Liz Walker, humanitarian, minister, television journalist, and documentary film producer.
With passion and humor, Walker called on the new graduates to be part of the "goodness in the world." A familiar and beloved face to local television audiences, Walker, an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist, was on air for 20 years at WBZ-TV and was Boston’s first African-American to anchor a major television newscast. She has dedicated the last 12 years of her life to humanitarian work in Sudan, and most recently, she has committed herself to her ministry work in Roxbury, Mass. Walker bestowed Lesley’s graduates with “the things I’m sure of.” She said the things she was so certain about as a young news anchor and professional – that journalism was the ultimate career and making money was the key to success – have changed. The only thing that is sure to stand the test of time and matters the most, she said, is knowledge. “As uncertain and frightening as this world seems to be getting every day, I want you to know that grace abounds, that there is goodness in the world, and that we can either be a part of it or against is, but the universe arcs toward justice,” Walker assured. Among her words of wisdom, Walker emphasized the importance of transcending technology and recognizing the value of human interaction. “(Technology) will never outshine or overshadow the ability to look in another person’s eye and speak with them directly,” Walker said to resounding applause. She also delivered simple, practical advice. “No matter what you hear out here in the world, no matter where you go, no matter what they say, it is not good to get a credit card if you do not have a job,” Walker exclaimed, prompting laughter from the audience. Walker co-founded an organization in Sudan called My Sister’s Keeper that is a grass roots initiative that advocates for women and children who are trying to rebuild their country and their lives. She recalled that during one trip, when she and her companions lost their luggage, the villagers offered them clothing, sticks to brush their teeth, and more. “It dawned on me that we had gone to Sudan to save Africa, and at that moment, Africa saved us,” Walker reflected. “I want you to know that the world is small,” she continued. “There is something we can do for the world, but I promise you, there is also something the world can do for us.”
The second honorary degree recipient was Paul Reville, former—and first—Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and current Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor of Practice. Throughout his career, Reville has been focused on education reform and improving opportunities for student achievement. On this morning, he began by saying he loves Lesley, in part as a parent of a former Lesley graduate, for its deep commitment to its mission, it values, and its dedication. At Lesley, he said, "all means all." He spoke to the graduates of the need to create a "21st century learning system," one where all indeed means all: that each and every student is educated to his or her fullest potential.In this time of constant change, competition, and powerful automation, said Reville, "we have a moral obligation to educate all of our students...to a level heretofore available to an elite few." He urged graduates to try to deliver on the promise of their Lesley education, and recognize that we have not only an achievement gap to close but gaps in health, well-being, and enrichment, where not all students have what others would consider the basics.Building and supporting a 21st century learning system, he said, is "the most important work of our time. Place this work front and center." He closed by congratulating graduates and saying, "Each of you can make a difference in all means all."
Margaret Burke, graduate of the Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning program, gave the student address for the Graduate School of Education. She spoke of roots and seeds. "Conformity alone is not going to serve my generation. This is time for the radical. Roots are exactly what we need. Strong roots are our essential foundation as we stretch outward and upward."Alexandra Giacoma, who is receiving her Master of Arts degree in Expressive Therapies, gave the student address for the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences.
She asked the question, "What if?" and spoke of the power of this question, which allows us to daydream and allow for creativity and new discoveries.
Paul Reville served nearly five years as the Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is a Professor of Practice and a member of the Senior Faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. During his accomplished career, Reville has worked to combine research, policy and practice. As Secretary of Education, he served as Governor Deval Patrick’s top education advisor and spokesman, established the Executive Office of Education, and oversaw higher education, K-12, and early childhood education in the nation’s leading student achievement state. He has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1997 and has served as Director of the Education Policy and Management Program. Reville’s career began with service as a VISTA volunteer, youth worker, teacher and principal of two urban, alternative high schools. He founded the Alliance for Education, a local education foundation that was part of the national Public Education Network. Reverend Liz Walker is an ordained minister, Emmy Award-winning television journalist, documentary film producer and humanitarian. A familiar and beloved face to local television audiences, Walker was on air for 20 years at WBZ-TV and was Boston’s first African-American to anchor a major television newscast. Walker has worked most recently in war-torn southern Sudan, where she co-founded with Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, a 2012 Lesley University Honorary Degree Recipient, an organization called My Sister’s Keeper, a grass roots initiative that advocates for women and children who are trying to rebuild their country and their lives. A 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Walker combines her rich background in communications with her passion for serving the world, and she serves as a board member for a number of faith-based and humanitarian organizations. She is the recipient of two Emmy Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award and special recognition from the prestigious Gabriel Awards for her on-air and documentary work.
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