On a beautiful, sunny, spring day, more than 2,200 Wake Forest University graduates and their families filled Hearn Plaza to celebrate commencement.
During the welcoming remarks of her first Wake Forest graduation ceremony, President Susan R. Wente highlighted the significance of commencement as a new beginning and a moving forward.
“While obtaining your degrees, you have exemplified courage, patience, adaptability and resilience. These characteristics together form a well of excellence from which you will continually draw,” she said. “You are entering a world that needs your expertise and knowledge, a world that craves your leadership and character.”
“Take what you have learned and share it generously with the world. ” President Susan R. Wente
Tomorrow is more important than yesterday
Van Jones, CNN host and Dream Corps founder, delivered Wake Forest University’s commencement address.
He gave three pieces of advice: Be a bridge. Don’t just make a point, make a difference. Be encouraged.
Referencing the divisiveness in news and on social media, he said, “If you believe what you see, you will think there are just too many awful people in the world. The biggest problem you have is that there are so many awesome people in both parties. So many awesome people in every racial group. So many awesome people in every faith. So many awesome people who just don’t know what to do, who don’t know how to work together, who haven’t yet learned how to help each other. You don’t have an awful-people problem. You have an awesome-people problem.
“You can find the good in people. You can reason with people. You can look past the 99 things you don’t agree on and find the one thing you do agree on.” Van Jones
“Tomorrow is more important than yesterday. It’s more important and it’s brighter than you know. And the best part of you can keep winning and will keep winning and as you win, you will see there are other people who look and pray differently who want to win, too. If you win together, we all will win.”
Nine ROTC candidates were commissioned and faculty retiring from Reynolda Campus and the medical campus were honored for their commitment to student engagement and to educating the whole person.
The University’s commencement website is home to recorded livestreams of the graduation ceremony, baccalaureate service and the hooding ceremonies for graduate students. Video and text of Jones’s remarks are available here.