Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Commencement Address to the Class of 2014 on Saturday, May 10 began with a startling admission: “I could not button my shirt or tie my shoes at eight,” he said. “I was expected to be a failure.”
Even when sat for the Bar Exam, he had to dictate answers rather than writing them. He needed time to take exams. And yet, he reached levels of success that at one point seemed impossible.
The takeaway? “Never, ever count yourselves out,” Malloy said. “What you’ve accomplished speaks volumes about what your future will be.”
Malloy, who received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters moments before he addressed nearly 1400 cheering graduates, encouraged graduates to “embrace change . . . keep an open heart and mind . . . [and] do something for others.”
That message was echoed by Class Speaker Jessica DiNatale.
During her time at UB, DiNatale, who majored in psychology, volunteered at numerous activities, such as Alternative Spring Break and Martin Luther King Day of Service. She led campus tours as a Purple Knights ambassador and traveled to Ecuador to build houses. “With all that I’ve done, I’ve become a new person,” she told fellow graduates. “Let yourself be changed by what happens to you.”
Several students receiving diplomas were the first in their family to earn a college degree. Others, like DiNatale, juggled more than one job as they attended classes. They represented 13 schools and programs. Many traveled great distances to obtain a higher education; international students from the Class of 2014 came from 84 countries, while half of the graduates are Connecticut residents, said President Neil A. Salonen.
“At UB, you learned to judge each other by your character and your achievements,” he added. “The accomplishments we celebrate are yours and yours alone. No one can take them from you.”
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