Graduates are urged to express their creative power to live the ‘good life’
May 2022 – Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies Class of 2022 was celebrated during the Commencement ceremony on Mead Lawn.
University President Thomas Schwarz offered timely advice to the graduates. “You are graduating at what is obviously a difficult time in the United States and in the world. Perhaps you cannot directly influence the issues of polarization in national politics or of course war and peace.”
“But you can indirectly influence those issues,” he continued. “Use your education to lead others to find common ground. To find good in those with whom you disagree. And of course to be active citizens, whether here or abroad. To get involved and not simply to observe or follow. As is said at Drew, ‘add to the world’s good by responding to the urgent challenges of our time with rigorous, independent, and imaginative thought.’”
Merel Visse, associate professor and director of Medical and Health Humanities, served as the Commencement Chief Marshal and faculty speaker. “Your degree represents care. A care for learning, a care for yourself, and care for your peers and professors. But most of all it reflects creative power. You used that power when you decided to attend Drew several years ago.”
But with creative power comes uncertainty. Visse asked the graduates to refine their perceptions. “Are there other ways of seeing things?” she asked.
“Call the artist within. Color outside the lines, think out of the box, and live the good life. Live that program about humanism, experience, improvisation, care, and justice—a quest in unknowing.”
Jessica Brosnan, a Doctor of Letters candidate, delivered the student speaker address. Giving witness to the challenges of earning an advanced degree, she recognized the achievements she and her fellow classmates have made.
“We all fall at points, but I’ve been inspired as I watched my fellow graduates rise back up from those moments and continue to push through to achieve remarkable things,” she said.
“I’ve seen individuals work through their past trauma in a way that has birthed beautiful pieces of writing and art. I’ve seen others reclaim and represent their culture and identity–things that they may have suppressed or had taken from them along their life’s journey–in ways that are breathtaking and humbling. There have been countless examples of personal growth that started as ideas and ended as realities.”
Nancy Vitalone-Raccaro, associate teaching professor of education, was presented with the student-nominated Thomas H. Kean Scholar/Mentor of the Year Award. For more on the 2022 Teachers of the Year, click here.
“You are prepared to give with not just the knowledge you have learned here at Drew, but with a commitment to your community, a desire to engage in lifelong learning, and the goal of making the world a better place,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Ryan Hinrichs, closing the ceremony.
“As you go forward, I encourage you to follow our University motto: Freely you have received, freely give.”