Celebrating success

The mood in EagleBank Arena was lively on Thursday evening, May 18 and Friday morning, May 19, as the College of Humanities and Social Sciences held its degree celebration ceremonies. Soon-to-be graduates marched into the event regaled by the jubilant sounds of the Green Machine, heightening the already positive atmosphere charged by the joyful gathering of family and friends.

A family captures the days in with a photo

On May 18, the college honored its graduates in the humanities disciplines and interdisciplinary programs. Graduates and guests alike listened intently as alumnus Dr. Edward Lengel, now the Chief Historian at the White House Historical Association, spoke about the essential qualities of Mason students: appreciation for the privilege of learning, a sense of purpose, and a focus and thirst for achieving their goals.

Dr. Edward Lengel Encouraging the new graduates to pursue futures that reflect their personal aspirations, Lengel urged them to “have the strength to say NO to the people who will try to put you in a box—and they will—and YES to your dreams of fulfillment, even when it means breaking the mold and, yes, being defiant.”

He continued, “Never forget what you have accomplished here at George Mason University. Take the lessons into your heart. But also, think, what is there before me—what mountains do I have to climb, what do I have to fight for, and what do I have to give of myself to others—to assure that my life is well-lived? Above all, don’t ever let anybody tell you what you can’t do.”

On May 19, the college celebrated its graduates in the social sciences, and welcomed Lt. Colonel Suzanne Devlin, a former acting Chief of Police of Fairfax County who is now serving as the Supervisor of Safety and Security for Loudoun County Public Schools. Devlin recalled her own graduation ceremony from Mason’s Harris Theater, and emphasized the value of the experiences built in to earning a Mason education.

Lt. Colonel Suzanne Devlin Likening the university to “a cultural experience that many would have to travel the world for,” Devlin remarked upon how the diversity at Mason reflects the face of the Northern Virginia community.

“You are joining a world economy,” she reminded the graduates. “Your world,” she told them, “will demand innovative solutions to solve world problems,” and she counseled tenacity, perseverance, and a celebration of what makes each of them unique.

“Say your name out there,” she urged. “Say it and say it often. Not everybody can say your name right, but say it loud, make the difference. The door may not be entirely open for you, but give it a push. You may never know how far it goes.”

Over 1600 bachelors, masters and doctoral candidates triumphantly crossed the stage, accepted their scroll and received congratulations from Dean Boehm-Davis to the sounds of well-earned applause.

Dean Deborah Boehm-Davis offers congratulations to a new graduate.

Congratulations again to all of our graduates! We are pleased to welcome you to an impressive community of alumni, made only stronger by the class of 2017.