I am thrilled to have participated in my first two commencement ceremonies as President of John F. Kennedy University, and I’d like to offer my warmest congratulations to all of our recent graduates. I am so proud of all of our students whose tenacity and perseverance drove them to achieve their ambitious educational goals, and I was honored to congratulate each student as they crossed the stage. Our students worked hard to get to this day, and I know that our faculty and staff also worked very hard to make this day so special. I’d like to thank all of our faculty and staff members for their dedication to bringing quality education programs to the students of John F. Kennedy University, and for their incredible job with our amazing commencement ceremonies!
I’d like to give special acknowledgement to the recipient of the 2016 Harry L. Morrison Distinguished Teaching Award, Lisa Hutton, Esq., who is a professor of Legal Studies in the College of Undergraduate Studies. Through her excellence in teaching, Professor Hutton demonstrates John F. Kennedy University’s and the National University System’s commitment to the highest quality of instruction and dedication to teaching.
We were fortunate to hear a special message from keynote speaker, Debi Hemmeter, who is Co-founder & Director of Partnerships at Lean In. Her story of overcoming obstacles to achieve career ambitions is inspiring, just as we are inspired by students such as Kate Mignani, the recipient of the College of Undergraduate Studies Outstanding Student of the Year Award for 2016. Despite challenging circumstances, Kate persevered and reminded us that we should all aspire toward Education for Change, to be leaders and change makers in the world. After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2015, Kate is now working toward her Juris Doctorate from JFKU College of Law. Students at JFKU have amazed me in their dedication to community and making a difference. My Lihn Vo, graduate from the Doctor of Psychology Program and recipient of the College of Graduate and Professional Students Outstanding Student of the Year Award, is a perfect example of giving back to the community and transforming the world. My Lihn has been involved in numerous public health initiatives focused on providing services to underserved communities, and she reminds us of the importance of dreaming big to make a positive impact in your community and the world.
As I reflect on our awesome students, faculty and staff, I also want to recognize another special group, our Alumni Association, which as of June 18, has added to the network that is 16,000 strong. This vibrant community is dedicated to supporting the ongoing professional and educational development of our graduates. We encourage everyone to get involved and stay connected with us, like our Alumni of the Year recipient, who is a graduate of the College of Law, Mr. Lewis Pascalli, Jr. At John F. Kennedy University, we have a profound dedication to serving the community, and Lewis is an excellent example of giving back and working toward the greater good.