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    Thursday, June 07, 2018

    Dear Class of 2018 ~

    It will soon be graduation day! After all those courses, assignments, deadlines, teachers, preceptors and years of study--you did it! The number of graduates nationwide this year indicates that you are among the elite. According to the US Department of Education, an estimated 3,830,000 college degrees will be awarded in 2018 (1 million associate degrees, 1.9 million bachelor degrees, 790,000 master's degrees and 183,000 doctoral degrees), to only 1 percent of the total US population. 

    It is time to get the wrinkles out of the graduation gown, outlandishly decorate your mortar board cap and toss it to the sky when your degree is conferred. As that cap plummets to earth, let's reflect on what it took to get you to this day. First, you committed to improving yourself, your knowledge and skill base--how you write, how you speak, how you interact with people, how you question or speak to power, how you imagine new realities, how you analyze and tackle problems, how you make decisions and how you measure the difference you are making in life and work--and you kept that commitment even despite work or family obligations.

    To get to this day, whether earning an undergraduate or graduate degree, you have, on average, successfully completed 40 courses with, perhaps, 40 different teachers with different styles and expectations; you mastered online technologies that have enhanced your ability to be a lifelong learner; you may have even completed that dissertation, thesis or research project and defended it before a faculty committee. WOW! 

    You are now savvy, discerning, wise and ready for the next challenge in your career. Think about that nagging problem at work that remains unsolved or the innovative idea that you can now put to the test. You are armed with new knowledge and skills that can make a difference in improving your organization, your profession...even the world. Most importantly, you are a role model to your family, friends, colleagues and those who are key to advancing your career. 

    It is important that you revel in your "commencement" given that this is the beginning of a new phase in your life and career. As a student, parent, faculty member and dean of a college, I have attended more than 60 commencement ceremonies and I have always looked forward to the next one. I hope that you will participate in your graduation ceremonies either in person or online and invite your family and friends to celebrate with you. There is nothing quite like hearing the conferral of degrees, listening to the wisdom and encouragement of the speakers, walking across the stage and grasping that diploma. Celebrate your achievement and know that all of us who taught and guided you to this point are celebrating with you. Congratulations to the Class of 2018! 

    All the best,

    Gloria Donnelly, PhD
    Professor and Dean Emerita
    The College of Nursing and Health Professions
    Drexel University 

    In this continuing series, "Through the Prism," Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly shares insight, laughs, stories and tidbits in her own words. 

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