My last commencement at the University of Minnesota was also a first–the first stadium ceremony for all of the undergraduate colleges in anyone’s memory. Luckily, a few sprinkles did not dim the mood (and prepared volunteers were on hand with several thousand ponchos!).
CLA was well-represented during both graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, too. Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan (BA ‘02, child psychology, American Indian studies minor) served as the graduate conferral keynote on Friday evening, recent Emerging Alumni Awardee Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe (BA ‘22, economics) served as the alumni speaker on Saturday afternoon, and CLA’s student board president Aarohi Shah (BA ‘23, human physiology, BA/MD program) served as the undergraduate speaker.
“We’ve been part of history, we’re currently shaping history, and we’ll continue to be makers of history,” Aarohi shared. “Today, with our newly discovered identities, I invite you to turn up the volume unique to your calling. To the highest, fullest version of yourself. Fulfilling your purpose, your meaning, your intention, is what gives you that powerful spark of energy that will make you glow.”
It has been the greatest privilege to serve as your dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and I will miss being here and working alongside you—our community of impassioned alumni, donors, and friends. And like Aarohi, I am profoundly optimistic about what comes next, about the future of the liberal arts, because the liberal arts are uniquely suited to this evolving moment in history. Our world has never been so interconnected or complex or so shaped by the power of creativity, curiosity, and communication. From the local to the global, our time calls for us to ask hard questions, seek creative answers, and connect interdisciplinary insights.
It has been an honor and a privilege to ensure we expand opportunity and we enhance impact through the vital work of the liberal arts and through the first-rate research, education, and engagement of this marvelous college. Thank you.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts