DePaul College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences | Spring 2020 Online Commencement

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Congratulations, Class of 2020. -Hello!-Hello, Class of 2020. -Hi, everyone.-Congratulations to the Class of 2020. You did it, aftercountless hours of studying, prepping for class, tests, and untold numberof homework assignments. You finally did it. Obviously,this isn’t the year that any of uswould have hoped for, but I’m so amazedat your ability to keep going. You, the GraduatingClass of 2020, are the fiercest groupof social justice warriors I’ve ever encountered. I am honored to witnessyour growth and your success. I’m so amazed at yourability to keep going, and to finish, and accomplishthis great task.

I am sad to see you go, but so excited to think about the change that you’regoing to create in this world. Your tenacity,your intelligence, your kindness will help makethese hard times much better, and the world will improvebecause of your presence. We’re all so very proud of you, and we know thatyou will represent the best of our university, the best of our professions, and the best of humanitygoing forward. I believe you will makethe world a much better place. Today, more than ever,the world needs thoughtfulness. The world needs you. Each one of you will dowhatever you set your mind to. Don’t be afraid,have courage. We tip our hatto all of your efforts, and wish you the bestin all of your endeavors. You’ve made me a better thinker, a better teacher, a better person. So, once again, I say– and we all say–thank you. You are all on trackto do great things, and to help makethe world a better place. And now you havea part in this history. I can’t wait to read your story. You’ll always be a partof the vibrant DePaul community. So, onward and upward,congratulations. Thank you for the privilegeand the honor of teaching you. From me to you, auguri e félicitations. Go out into the world,and do good. And ask yourself what must be done. ♪ ♪ 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? ♪♪ Dear graduates, it is my pleasureto join you today in this happy occasion. I hope you willremember it forever, not because ofthe unusual circumstances we’re going through, but because of the wonderfulmemories and achievements of your tenureas a student here at DePaul. As some of you may know, I came to DePaul in 2016, like many of you,almost four years ago, and I came to DePaul to learn, because as alsosome of you may know, I was not originally trainedin the liberal arts. I was trained as an architect, and it was later in lifethat I discovered the richness and the power of the liberal artsand the social sciences. Like you all, I was educated by ourextraordinary faculty in the amazing disciplines of the liberal artsand social sciences. During your tenurehere at DePaul, I hope that you have becomeperpetual learners.

I’m sure that now you understand a lot betterthe world around us. And beyond that, I thinkthat you can influence, you can engage that world because you know how to do good, and how to do it well. Now, of course,we’ve all heard the saying that, “With great powercomes great responsibility.” And yes, I have to admit, I’m a big fan of Spider-Man, but I think it’s true. And I think thatby working together, you can all deliver usto a better tomorrow. So as you move intothis next project in life– as an architect may tell you– I hope that you willalways remember that DePaul and the LAS faculty will always be here for you. We hope that youremain in touch, and that the liberal artswill be always with you. And now, it ismy pleasure and an honor to introduceyour fellow classmate and student speaker, Jinan Chehade. Jinan is graduating today with a Bachelor in Public Policy and a minor both in Islamic World Studiesand Arabic. She’s planning to startat Georgetown Law this fall. Jinan is a DePaulLeadership Scholar who has served as senator of Liberal Artsand Social Sciences in Student Government. Jinan, as our tagline reads, is intellectually curious and actively engaged. Please, help me welcome Jinan. Esteemed faculty,friends, family, and Class of 2020, most of you may know me asthe girl that’s always in SAC, or outside the patioof Arts and Letters protesting aboutsome political issue. That, or walking into classtwenty minutes late. Honestly, when I originallywrote this address, I never imagined that I’dbe giving it in this way. And I know this may not be thegraduation we all hoped for– some of us may betuning in from our PJs– but here we all are, after countless obstacles,celebrating each other and the past four yearsof our lives. Now before I begin, I want you allto take a moment and think about howyou personally define change or impact. This questionis especially important to ask ourselves now– amidst all these large-scale, systematic,bigger than us problems– to ask ourselves, “What doeschange look like for us?” As LAS majors,we are all here today because we have some vision of change or impactin our society. For me, I always imaginedthat change had to be some grand gesture that impacteda large number of people. However, coming to DePaul changed my perspectiveon change. As I formed relationshipswith various communities– whether it be UMMA,SJP, DCSA, SGA– I learned that changeis not numerical, or bold, or groundbreaking. Change is in formingrelationships with others. That when like-minded,passionate people come together, that is whenthe real work begins. Lilla Watson once said, “If you have come to help me,then you are wasting your time, but if you have comebecause your liberation is bound with mine,then let us work together.” And I’ve seen it hereat DePaul with all of you. I’ve seen us stand upwith one another and protect each otheramidst the Muslim ban, host teach-insabout police brutality, and organize national campaigns.

I’ve seen us crywith one another after the New Zealand attacks. But most of all,in all these examples and more, I’ve seen ussimply come together. Change isn’t some big,superhero-movie-worthy action that’s going to savethe world overnight. Change takes timeand commitment. See, you probably won’t be ableto change the world on your own, but you can change the worldas part of a larger movement. And by usingyour personal purpose, you can change thatsmall world around you first. You see, all of uswere placed on this Earth for a general purpose, but your individual task isto find your personal purpose. That is, to understandhow you can create change in the circlesand spaces around you with the skills and strengths that the classroom of lifehas equipped you with. Perhaps changingthe world for you is going to another communityand educating yourself. Perhaps, it’s not walkingby that homeless man you see on your daily commute, but stoppingand asking how he is. Perhaps, it’s shouting, “Free Palestine”and “Black Lives Matter” in the streets of Chicago. Or maybe, just maybe, in our fast-producing,production-obsessed world, it’s simply being. We are living in a timewhere we cannot afford to remain passiveabout our condition, and we in the College of LASespecially understand this. We can no longer expect change,or simply ask for it. We must demand it. So today,I invite you all again to think abouthow you personally define change or impact, and how you can usewhat you’ve learned at DePaul to create that change. Now, as we leaveour chosen home and family, many of use may notknow our next steps, or where we will befive years from now. If this yearhas taught us anything, it’s taught us that lifeis full of uncertainties. But it has also taught us,more than anything, to treasure every moment, and to treasure every experienceand relationship that we have. And while there are notmany guarantees in this world, there’s one thingI can promise you. You have the freedom to choosewhat to do with your time. You have the freedom to chooseyour impact and legacy. Because of what I’ve learnedfrom all of you, I am no longer frustratedat the state of our world because I know thatwe can make a difference, that we will make a difference. Today, I dare you to be brave. I dare you to break your heartand care about the world. I dare you to takethe extra step outside of your comfort zone. But most importantly, I dare youto create change together. I would like to closeby a quote by Malcom X. “I am not educated, nor am I an expertin any particular field, but I am sincere, and my sincerityis my credentials.” As we leave herewith our hard-earned degrees, we must remember thatthe world does not need more politicians,doctors, or artists. We need more politicians,doctors, and artists who care. We are the heroeswe have been waiting for. We are the generationwe have been waiting for. Class of 2020,for the past four years, I have been inspiredby your resilience, your kindness,your ability to come together in good times and in bad. And I know I cannotphysically be there to congratulate all of youon this outstanding achievement. I will alwaystake pride in knowing that I am partof the Class of 2020. Thank you. The Dean will now presentthe candidates for the conferral of degrees. ♪ President Esteban, on behalf ofthe faculty and staff of the College of Liberal Artsand Social Sciences, I respectfully presentthe candidates and recommend thatthe announced degrees be conferred upon them. ♪ By the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees and the state of Illinois, I confer upon you the degree for whichyou have been recommended with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities appertaining thereunto.

The following candidates have successfullycompleted the requirements and have been awardedtheir 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 liketo 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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