Graduates urged to take risks and follow dreams

Students at a past Commencement ceremony

May 19, 2013 - Take risks and be willing to make mistakes in pursuit of your dreams.

That was part of the advice offered to Quinnipiac University's newest graduates on May 19 by keynote speakers Josh Elliott, of "Good Morning America" and Jessica Jackley, co-founder of KIVA, a microlending website.

"Mistakes are now how you will learn," Elliott told School of CommunicationsSchool of Health Sciences and School of Nursing graduates at an afternoon ceremony.

"You'll try things, not succeed, and hopefully, try them again. To think, you worked this hard, came this far, to be released into a world that sounds more like preschool arts and crafts -- as it should. For when were we ever really happier than with a table piled high of colors and textures and possibility when we could make whatever we wanted, and so, be whatever we wanted? Because as we arts'd-and-craft'd, we did so bound only by our imaginations, by our dreams -- where mistakes don't exist, but rather new choices, to be made," he said.

Elliott encouraged students to embrace the mistakes they make in pursuit of their dreams--and to learn from them.   "I ask that you love those dreams as I now love my daughter, for they--like she--are what you have to live for. They, like she, are guiding lights and organizing principles -- the things you choose never to forsake," he said.  

At the morning ceremony, Jackley encouraged College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business graduates to devote their lives to serving others.  

"Today, you might, and you should, feel ready to take on the world," she said. "This isn't just any degree. This is an exceptionally crafted one, from one of the most outstanding institutions in the country. It represent years of study, of learning, of growing together in this community."  

She encouraged students to follow their hearts.  

"The dreams you choose, and the work it will take to get there, will shape you," Jackley said. "Life gets really, really good not just when you yourself are living a fulfilling, creative, entrepreneurial life, but when we can live this way together. So I believe that, like I have, you will fall in love with work that helps other people thrive and reach their potential too. You'll get addicted to it. You'll wake up in the morning wanting to see how much of a positive impact you can make on someone else. It will become the currency you care most about. You'll want to spend every day this way. It might just take over your whole life. This is called service. This is called love."  

James W. McGlothlin, chairman and CEO of The United Company, Elliott and Jackley received honorary degrees.

The University awarded 1,510 undergraduate degrees. Graduates Caitlin Ziegler and Timothy O'Rourke delivered remarks to the graduating class.

The ceremonies also included remarks from President John Lahey and Mark Thompson, senior vice president for academic and student affairs. 

Morning ceremony: 

Afternoon ceremony: