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DU Graduates Encouraged to Challenge Themselves and Others

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Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

Alumni speaker tells students the future is now and they are the future

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Summer graduation

It’s hard to picture a more perfect day for Commencement than the one that greeted hundreds of students and their families this morning. With blue skies and temperatures in the 60s, the University of Denver celebrated the accomplishments of nearly 700 graduates.

Chancellor Rebecca Chopp began the ceremony by not only recognizing DU’s newest class of alums, but also their families. “This is your day too,” she told the crowd on Graduation Green outside the Margery Reed Building. “You’ve sacrificed in many different ways in anticipation of this day, and you deserve to be proud, very proud, not just of those sitting in front of you, but of yourself.”

The University awarded 60 doctoral degrees, four juris doctor degrees, more than 400 master’s degrees and nearly 200 bachelor’s degrees.

Patrick Grant (MBA ’73), chairman of the board for the National Western Stock Show, delivered the alumni address. He spoke about the most important lesson he learned while studying at DU. “Ask questions. Do not rest back and be comfortable. Do not be content. Challenge yourself. Challenge others. Speak up. Question assumptions.”

Grant also encouraged graduates to reach out to other DU alumni for help and not waste any time getting to work, because the future is now. “Today you can celebrate. Go home, have a beer, have a glass or two of wine, enjoy that sunset, put your arm around a loved one, but tomorrow morning, get to work.”

Frank Tuitt delivered Friday’s Commencement address. The senior advisor to the chancellor and provost on diversity and inclusion and professor of higher education in the Morgridge College of Education described how preparing for today reminded him of why he became a professor in the first place.

Tuitt told the crowd how recent outbreaks of violence around the world have him questioning his life work, sense of purpose and his hope for a better future. “My fear is that we have not provided all of you, the graduates today, with the skills necessary to be successful in an increasingly diverse, complex and conflicted world.”

However, Tuitt drew inspiration from the teachings of one of his mentors and the dissertation written by one of the graduating PhD students in the crowd, titled “Is It Even Possible?” Both reminded him why he became a professor in the first place.

“I placed my hope in a better future in some of you sitting in the audience today,” Tuitt said. “To the graduates of today, I want to thank you because your celebration this morning and the work you did to get here turned out to be a perfect reminder of why it is possible to not only dream of a better future, but to believe we can make it happen.”