U Chooses Robert McDonald as Commencement Speaker for 2015


(Courtesy Photo)

By Julianne Skrivan

(Courtesy Photo)
(Courtesy Photo)


Graduates will be treated to a speech by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald at commencement on May 7.

McDonald is a U alum with an army background. According to a U press release, he served as the President and CEO of the Procter & Gamble Co. A decorated veteran, McDonald holds awards such as the Meritorious Service Medal. When President Obama nominated him for the position of secretary of Veterans Affairs, McDonald turned his attention to building and securing trust with veterans in areas such as health care.

Kaela Carlin, a freshman in gender studies and psychology, said having a speaker who has been decorated with awards and accomplishments gives students someone to look up to who has been through the same types of trials.

“It shows that they have gone through similar obstacles and have worked hard through academics and whatever else to be successful,” Carlin said.

Having a speaker who graduated from the U is “special” to Carlin, but she doesn’t think it’s essential.

“If you are successful, you are successful wherever you go,” Carlin said. “But it is special to have someone who is also passionate about our school and what the U believes in and stands for.

Che Diaz, a junior in engineering, said having a speaker from the U inspires university pride.

“Commencement speakers who are from our school are more special because they embody the school,” Diaz said. “They are part of our campus. It is exciting.”

Carlin thinks a commencement speaker’s talk should be a mixture of advice and inspiration.

“After all the years, it is important to feel accomplished and ready to push forward,” Carlin said. “The commencement address should be full of advice for students who are ready to face new adventures and new challenges and full of inspiration because, after accomplishing something like graduating school, they need something to push them towards a new goal.”

She thinks all students should listen to the commencement speech, no matter where they are in their undergraduate studies.

“Even for students who aren’t headed towards graduation, seeing a commencement address is something that can only benefit you,” Carlin said. “[It can] give you some more direction towards finishing up and pushes someone to finish up their major.”

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