DePaul College of Education | Spring 2020 Online Commencement


Congratulationsto the Class of 2020. What a journey it has been. We are all thinking of you,and we are so proud of you. We are so happyto have been part of your professionaland educational lives. Even though it feels like ourworld’s been turned upside-down, your accomplishmentsstill matter. You’ve worked hardfor the opportunity to serve others,and you’re just in time. The world needs youmore now than ever. Look how far you have come, creating incredibly innovativeand meaningful programs and projects for your schoolsand communities, and we are so proud of you. You rose to the challenge to see things in a new way, and then how you incorporatedall those new ideas and skills into every fiber of your being. DePaul is such a special place,and it is because of the amazing, diverse,innovative leaders that we have herein you, in our students.

Go ahead and do your magic. Be gentle, be generous,be brave, and stay in touch. But first, take a deep breath. Stand up straightand let your pride shine and celebrate. You did it. Congratulations, Class of 2020. So go out there and helpthe educational community. We need good professionalslike you. I’m proud of you,I’m proud of your success, and I applaud you. Yay! ♪ Yay! (cheering and applause) ♪ ♪ Members of the faculty, staff, administration, honored guests,and of course, our graduates, I’m Salma Ghanem,Interim Provost for DePaul University. Welcome to our121st commencement, DePaul’s very firstonline ceremony. We very much wish we couldall be together right now, and we plan to do soto celebrate together as soon as it’s safe. Until then, we celebrate todayin this online space because the DePaul communitywould never pass up an opportunity to applaud you,the Class of 2020, and your many accomplishments. Commencement is one ofthe most meaningful ceremonies of a student’s academic career, and a DePaul commencementis anything but ordinary.

As a Catholic Vincentianuniversity, we share a commitmentto uphold the dignity of every single person, and we call thatVincentian personalism. Just like we do every year,each student will be recognized. We want to give every studenttheir moment because that’s the DePaul way. It’s also why we encourageall the students, family members,and friends watching to stay until the end, especially because our ceremonywill conclude with a special alumni guest, Joe Keery from the hit Netflixseries, “Stranger Things.” Now, we know thatthe Class of 2020 faced many challengesthis past quarter. In a matter of days, you had to pivotto all remote learning. Many of you had to dashback home. Through it all, though, you demonstrated patienceand understanding as your facultytransitioned to teach more than 4,000 classesremotely. Your world was turnedupside-down, but you persevered.

That’s not surprising to us because throughout your timeat DePaul, you navigated obstaclesand rose to the challenge. How? Well, throughout your timeat DePaul, your class dedicatedat least 300,000 hours to academic internships; 2,559 of you are membersof the Honor Society; 200 undergraduate studentsin the Class of 2020 completed double majors; more than a thousand of you, or roughly about 17 percentof your graduating class, participated instudy abroad programs; you danced more than 70 hoursfor DemonTHON, raising approximately $811,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospitalof Chicago; your Theatre School presentedmore than 300 productions, and the School of Music offerednearly 1,000 performances. Yeah, and yes,you also helped consume two million meals served on our Lincoln Parkand Loop Campuses, all during your time at DePaul.

If you’re watchingtoday’s ceremony, though, with a loved one, a friend,or a family member, turn to them nowand say, “Thank you,” and if you’re physically apartfrom many of the ones you love, take a momentand send them a message to express your gratitude. Don’t ever forgetall the people who helped you getto this moment in your academic career, including, of course,the faculty and staff who shared their talentand wisdom with you. Now, it is your responsibility to carry their teachingsforward. On behalf of the entireDePaul community, congratulations! We can’t wait to seewhat you do next. Now it’s my privilegeto introduce Reverend Guillermo Campuzano,Congregation of the Mission, and Vice Presidentof Mission and Ministry, who will delivertoday’s invocation, followed by the National Anthemsung by John Concepcion. For those who wish to do so,please join me in prayer. Loving God,today is graduation day, a passage, a completion,a new beginning. Today, we pray in thanksgiving for DePaul University’sClass of 2020. Our students,with the help of faculty, staff, family, and friends,have met the challenges and kept the faith to the commitmentsof their studies, and they’re becomingthe kind of people they want to and can bein our society. God, the graduationof this year happens in the contextof the most challenging events of our generation. It is in the challenging momentsthat You refine us. The joy that our studentsare experiencing today cannot be stolen. We will do well to remember that nothing can stealour joy and our peace when they are a giftthat comes from our inner self. Please, do not allowour many trials of today, as difficult as they may seem, to distract usfrom rejoicing and celebrating this meaningful momentin the lives of so many in our DePaul family. In this context,it can be tempting for us to forget to be joyful, yet it is in the challengingmoments of life that you prove yourself close,friendly, faithful. You are always with us. Our joy today is not derivedfrom our comfort, but it is a joythat is happening despite our uncomfort in this,our distance, our inability to gather,to hug, and to say goodbye. Our joy comes from our belief that no matterwhat is happening, none of us is alone. We will continue to reach outand to support each other. Please, dear God,continue to educate us all, especiallyour graduating students, and shape us more completely into the human beingswe need to be to go throughthe fire together and to prevailas one human family. Good and loving God,please bless and guide our graduatesas they reach this end and as they chartnew beginnings. May what they have learnedby being here, with usin our Vincentian classrooms, allow them to truly bewomen and men for others. May what we have learnedfrom them enable us to be the same. Please help our graduatesuse all that they have learned to serve othersin true solidarity and kindness, to seek ways to help the poor,the marginalized, and those who are suffering, and to always seekthe greater good and make our worlda better place.

Finally, God, we thank You for giving us the opportunityto build our DePaul community with these, our students,while they were here. Though they are leaving, now,our campuses, we know that they willalways be with us as part of the DePaul family, and we ask that the bondsthat have been created here remain strongdespite any distance. Bless and protect themand all those they love. Amen. ♪ O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’slast gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripesand bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does thatstar-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? ♪ As we gather today,together, albeit distantly, to celebrate this milestonein your lives, it’s evident that all the worldhas changed before our eyes. The countless hours of service,studying, and socializing, the early morningsand even later nights, the considerable obstacles as well as the manywell-earned successes, all appear far more meaningfulfrom our new vantage point. But your experiences at DePaulis not defined by the challengesof the last few months. Rather,your extraordinary efforts during the entire courseof your studies in the College of Educationhave prepared you to thrive during these uncertain timesand beyond. Across the nation,Americans are recognizing, now more than ever,the critical service educators and counselorsprovide our children. Of course, this wasalways apparent to us. The work of teachers,counselors, and educational leadersis demanding, both intellectuallyand emotionally, but you and I understand that no two studentsor clients are the same, and that employing allof our knowledge, resources, networks, and experiencesallows us to adapt to meet their unique needs. Over the past weeks,I’ve been amazed at the work you and your facultyand staff have done to adapt, and it’s been extraordinary.

You spent the last weeksof your programs navigating an exceptionally stressfuland unprecedented situation, and you never quit. As you move forwardinto your careers, your students, colleagues,and communities will look to you for guidanceand assurance. Go forward,inspired by the courage and resilience of the unheard,underserved, and vulnerable, both nationwideand here in Chicago. May our country’s leadersrecognize the amenity of all Americans, and may you, as future leaders, do all that you can to supportthose who need it the most. I have no doubt, given the courageand dedication you’ve shown, that you will be outstandingmembers of your field. I know that your studentsand clients will be fortunate to have you in their corner. I am immensely proudthat you will be graduates of the College of Education. So, congratulations,Class of 2020. I look forward to learningof all that you’ve accomplished in this incrediblyrewarding field. And now, it’s my great honorto introduce your student commencementspeaker, Grace Garbrecht. Grace is graduating today with a bachelor’s degreein secondary education with a concentrationin English. During her time at DePaul, she wasa Chicago Quarter Mentor, Success Coach,and Career Ambassador. She also served as president ofthe DePaul Golden Apple cohort. Please welcome Grace. Hi, I’m Grace Garbrecht, and I’m the 2020 College ofEducation commencement speaker. I’m graduatingfrom the College of Education. My plan is to bea high school English teacher. Yup, wish me luck. Like my students, I’m aware thatsitting in a chair for hours is not exactlywhat you would call fun, but don’t worry,I promise this speech won’t nearly be as boringas reading the Odyssey. In the College of Education, we are passionate about howwe relate to one another. As DePaul graduates,we will bring the wisdom and experiences developedwithin our DePaul community to the world. Because of COVID-19, we may be feelingmore disconnected than ever. How we approach this difficultand uncertain future will have a lasting impact. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the connectionswe’ve made at DePaul, which have prepared usfor whatever is to come. Connection is the foundationof our DePaul community. We first make connectionsin our classes. Whether we tooka Chicago Quarter class or another intro class,our professors had us engaged in icebreakerslike Concentric Circles and adjective name games. Now we probably all havea love-hate relationship with icebreakers, but I knowthat history repeats itself, so I will definitely beup there one day in front of my studentsasking them to come up with an adjectivethat rhymes with their name. On a more serious note,our professors encouraged us to connect with our peers through meaningfulclass discussions about who we areand why we’re here. As we made new friendsand connected with our peers, we started to makethis new place our home. We went to eventslike involvement fairs and basketball gameswhere we reached out our hand and someone welcomed us.

As time passed,we became more comfortable in this spacethat we now all call home. Because of the connectionswe made at DePaul, we were encouraged to carrythe Vincentian mission with us to the city. We took the L downtownto our internship, we volunteeredat Chicago public schools, but most importantly, we practiced serviceand social responsibility to answer the callof what must be done. I am so proud to graduatefrom a university that serves its studentsas well as its city. You may not know this yet,but DePaul opened a food pantryto support students who may be experiencingfood insecurity. This is just one example of how we practicemeaningful connection through serviceand social responsibility. As graduatesof DePaul University, we are ready to make connectionsto the world as informed global citizens. We are now asking ourselves, as we did in the beginningof our DePaul experience, who are weand why are we here? I say, let our experiencesanswer this question. Be the person who looksto make connection. Be the person to grabthe outreached hand. As a teacher, I’m giving you allyour first assignment. In a world fullof hashtags, selfies, and political fightson Facebook, remember the importanceof human connection. We understand its impactnow more than ever. Let me give you an example. In elementary school,my reading proficiency wasn’t as good as my peers’. That meant, during reading time, I would get pulled outto go see Ms. Ahearn to get some extra help. Everyone knew whyI was getting pulled out, including me. I was the dumb kid. One day, when we wentto the library, a librarian asked mewhy I hadn’t found a book. I shrugged and told her, “I don’t like reading.I’m not a good reader.” She stopped, looked at me, and said that no oneis a bad reader. She continued to encourage methroughout the years. I fell in lovewith books again. I carried my loveof reading with me through high schooland college. If it wasn’t for my librarian, I don’t know if I would bestanding here before you today as an English teacher. Looking back at thisdifficult time in our lives, I hope to rememberthe resilience of the Class of 2020, and let my story bea reminder to you of the powerof human connection. May our words be kind and our actions filledwith compassion. Thank you. The Dean will now presentthe candidates for the Conferral of Degrees. ♪ President Esteban, on behalfof the faculty and staff of the College of Education, I respectfully presentthe candidates and recommend that the announced degreesbe conferred upon them. ♪ By the authority vested in me by the Board of Trusteesand the State of Illinois, I confer upon you the degree for whichyou have been recommended, with all the rights,privileges, and responsibilitiesappertaining thereunto.

The following candidateshave successfully completed the requirementsand have been awarded their respective degrees. ♪ Members ofthe Vincentian Community and the clergy, Trustees,Life Trustees, faculty,administration, staff,and honored guests, I’m Gabriel Esteban, presidentof DePaul University. Thank you for joining ustoday to celebrate the DePaul UniversityClass of 2020. Your presence,even in this online space, means everything to us. This was not the yearor the commencement ceremony anyone expected, and I am inspiredby the tenacity and drive the Class of 2020has demonstrated throughout this time. I am also extremely gratefulto all the faculty and staff who made the swift transitionto remote learning, as well asthe many people who made today’s onlinecommencement ceremony possible. I especially would likethe recognize the membersof the DePaul community who continuedto report to campus throughoutthe Spring Quarter. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, the worldis a scary place right now. Graduating from collegealways comes with a degreeof uncertainty. Is this the right jobfor me? Am I choosingthe right path? Will I achievemy dreams? I know all your questionsare magnified right now, and it’s okayto feel scared. Now, more than ever, the world needsDePaul graduates. There are morethan 6,000 students in the Class of 2020, and the world needsevery single one of you. We need entrepreneurs,economists, and hospitality leaders. Journalists,filmmakers, computer scientists,and game designers. Teachers, counselors,writers, artists, diplomats,and historians. Nurses,psychologists, scientists,and mathematicians. Musicians and actors. The world needsDePaul graduates because you knowwhat it takes to succeed. You know howto roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takesto get the job done. You understand the importanceof giving back. And you have the courageto ask, “What must be done?” At DePaul,our Catholic Vincentian mission to servethe public good is at the heartof everything we do. We have taught youto fight for social justice, help thosemost in need, listen,and be kind. Please keepour Vincentian values close to your heart. Be mindfulof the responsibility that comeswith a DePaul diploma. The diplomathat bears the name of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, you are ready to servea changing world, transformed byyour DePaul education, grounded in mission. Make us proud. The last stepin your journey at DePaul is to be inductedinto the alumni community. It is my distinct honorto introduce our special alumni guest,Joe Keery, who graduated fromThe Theatre School in 2014, and now playsSteve Harrington on the hit Netflix seriesStranger Things. DePaul has always been proudto call Joe one of our own, and my wife and Iare big fans of his work. We’re very gratefulhe could join us today to celebratethe Class of 2020. Please welcome Joe Keery. Hi, everybody,my name is Joe Keery. I’m an alumniat DePaul University, Class of 2014,from The Theatre School, and I’m honored to bethis year’s Alumni Inductor and to welcomethe Class of 2020 into the Alumni Association. So, congratulations,Class of 2020. When I thinkabout my time at DePaul, I think aboutall the hard work. I mean, DePaul really conditionstheir students to work. If you ask any of the studentsat The Theatre School, they’re definitelyworking very hard.

It really conditioned meto fill my days doing the thingthat I love to do, and then work towards goalsthat I really set for myself. So, now, more than ever,as graduates, and kind of giventhe current state of the world, I think it’s really importantto keep your foot on the gas and to really go afterevery single opportunity, to makeyour own opportunities. If you work hard at somethingthat you love to do, and you can makea living doing it, then you won’t have to worka day in your life. That’s always beenmy mentality, and I feel so luckyto be able to do the workthat I’m able to do. And it wouldn’t havebeen possible, truly, without DePaul. I look backon my time there so fondly. All the friendsthat I’ve made, all the experiencesthat I had. But, truly,now the real fun begins, because you get to takeeverything that you’ve learned and everything thatyou’ve worked towards at DePauland put it to use. And now you can startthis new chapter in your life and always look back fondlyat your time at DePaul. So, congratulations again, and now to inductthe Class of 2020. Inscribed upon this scrollare the names of the members of DePaul University’s121st graduating class, the Class of 2020. We acceptthese graduates into the DePaul UniversityAlumni Association. Members ofthe 121st graduating class, we welcome youto the next step in your lifelong connectionwith DePaul. As students of yesterday,graduates today, and alumni forever, you are now part of aneven larger DePaul community of over 190,000 alumniliving around the world. The continued vitalityof DePaul University depends uponeach of us as alumni, and our pledge of commitmentand service to the university. We invite youto accept membership by moving your tasselfrom the right to the left as a symbolic gestureof your transformation from a studentof DePaul University to a lifelong learnerand citizen of the world. Graduates,please move your tassels, you should really do it, and congratulationsto the Class of 2020. (applauds) ♪


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