On May 15, 1,230 undergraduates and 88 graduate students heard the roars and cheers of thousands of their family members and friends as they celebrated their achievements at Eastern Connecticut State University's 122nd Commencement exercises at the XL Center in Hartford.
Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University, delivered the Commencement address. He told the graduates he hoped they had learned three things at Eastern: "What you love to do, how to get better at it and how to share that with others . . . I hope that at Eastern you have found something that stirs your soul, that draws what is best from you, that is an activity without which you feel impoverished, denied, not fully human."
Roth continued, "The habits of mind developed in liberal arts environments like Eastern's . . . will empower you to see opportunity where others see only obstacles." Noting the social, political and economic divisiveness that exists in our society today, Roth concluded that universities "must continue to strive to be places where young people discover and cultivate their independence and must themselves resist the trends of inequality that are tearing at the fabric of our country."
Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez told the graduates not to sit on the sidelines. "The challenges we face today as a nation and international community are ours to face and ours to solve. The point I would make is not that everything is bad but that we can make things better. I say we, because it always takes a team of people to get the job done . . . Together, you can be the force of change that can keep our country strong. It is your time. You are the leaders of the future, and the future starts now."