Graduating seniors told to uplift and empower others

[Amanda Martin]

By Shanleigh Reardon

Staff Writer

Graduating seniors, their families and FSU faculty and staff gathered in DPAC for Senior Investiture, on Monday, April 24.

Melinda Stoops, dean of students, hosted the event and gave the opening remarks following the National Anthem, performed by sophomore Inessa Burnell. 

Stoops said the event is the first opportunity for the graduating class to wear their robes.

“Enjoy the moment and whatever meaning that moment has for you,” said Stoops. “Be in the moment, be here, now. … Be intentional in what you create for yourself this next month.”

Madison Alper, vice president of the class of 2017, spoke to her fellow graduates on behalf of the other class officers.

“Take this next step into your journey and remember your time here at FSU,” said Alper.

Alper introduced the faculty speaker of the day, Patricia Sánchez-Connally, and said, “What she does inside the classroom does notcompare to what she has done outside.”

Sánchez-Connally, professor of sociology, “is a mentor to many students, advises the Student Leaders of Inclusion & Diversity and helps students start initiatives on campus that they can be proud of,” said Alper.

Sánchez-Connally began her address by saying, “We have a lot more in common than you think.

Sánchez-Connally will soon be graduating with her Ph.D. from UMass Amherst and said, just like FSU’s graduates, she’s “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“This is the first time I actually put on my gown,” she said.

Sánchez-Connally, the first member of her family to graduate college 16 years ago from FSU, acknowledged the anxiety graduates feel surrounding “the million-dollar question – now what? ¿Y ahora? ¿Y ahora qué?” said Sánchez-Connally.

“You should allow yourself to celebrate this very moment,” she said. “People before you have made sacrifices so that this moment right here could be a reality.”

She told the graduating seniors that they are now part of the 31 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts. She advised the graduates to uplift, empower and inspire others. “Step outside of your comfort zone. … Create better conditions and opportunities for others.”

Stoops and the four class officers then performed “Cups” from the movie “Pitch Perfect.”

Stoops said she decided to perform “Cups” because the song was popular during the graduating class’ freshman year.

“I’d like to thank the senior class officers for their willingness to do this with me. … This is a group that’s really ‘got game,’ so to speak,” said Stoops afterwards.

A slideshow of photographs from the graduating class’ years at FSU played before Burnell led the alma mater, “Live to the Truth” to conclude the ceremony.

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