More than 25,000 graduates and spectators attended Thursday’s spring 2018 commencement ceremony at Folsom Field. More than 8,000 degrees were conferred during a ceremony in which Lucile Berkeley Buchanan was posthumously honored, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown gave the commencement address.
After welcoming remarks by University of Colorado President Bruce Benson, Chancellor Philip DiStefano congratulated the class of 2018 and shared his thoughts about the new graduates, who are entering a challenging world on many levels.
“You have learned to be well-rounded thinkers and problem-solvers regardless of your degree,” DiStefano said. “You are flexible and adaptable in a rapidly changing world, prepared to be the leaders and innovators who will positively impact humanity. You have been prepared for jobs that currently do not yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet.” Read the chancellor’s entire speech.
The chancellor then introduced CU Vice President and alumna Kathy Nesbitt to posthumously honor Buchanan with her diploma, which was accepted on her behalf by Polly McLean, CU Boulder associate professor of media studies, who wrote a book on Buchanan. Buchanan, the first African-American woman to graduate from CU Boulder, was barred from walking across the Macky Auditorium stage to accept her degree in 1918 because of her race.
The chancellor also announced a new scholarship that has been established in honor of Buchanan. The scholarship will provide merit-based awards for students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences who are committed to honoring her legacy of pursuing education and community service to the benefit of black and African-American communities.
During her address, Brown shared some highlights of her time as a student at CU Boulder and some of her challenges as a young woman trying to find her way in the world.
“And on the day I was sworn in as Oregon’s 38th governor, I experienced what it’s like to be labeled. To have my entire first two decades of public service eclipsed by a single phrase: ‘the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.’ That phrase appeared after my name in virtually every headline around the world,” she said.
“I am sure there are some of you out there today who, over the course of your lives, have experienced stereotyping, discrimination or fear that interferes with your ability to live openly and with dignity. This should not happen. Not here. Not anywhere. Each of us has the right to live with dignity.”
Brown also shared the stories of three CU Boulder students whose immigration status remains in legal limbo under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And she challenged the new graduates to change the world.
“Being here today is a reminder of my very sunny times in Colorado and what inspired me to enter public service. It’s also a reminder of the power that each and every one of us has to change the world. Many of you are already doing that. More than 6,000 students each year serve through CU’s Volunteer Resources Center. All of you have spent the last four years-some of you maybe five, a few of you six-learning about the world, and hopefully seeing the possibilities that lie ahead of you.
“There is no question that one person, one dedicated person with good ideas, can change the world. I believe that person is you.” Read Gov. Kate Brown’s entire address.
Richard Schaden, an aeronautical engineer, aviation lawyer and entrepreneur, was also awarded an honorary degree, doctor of humane letters, in recognition of his generosity and dedication to engineering, entrepreneurship, education and the law.
Source: CU Boulder