Reason to rejoice

Two notable Peoria natives, both from hardworking immigrant families of modest means, spoke at Bradley’s respective commencement ceremonies in May.

Forty years after receiving his own bachelor’s degree at Robertson Memorial Field House, RAY LaHOOD ’71, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, delivered the keynote address at the Peoria Civic Center on May 14. LaHood encouraged the graduating seniors by saying, “My degree unlocked countless doors. I guarantee that in December of 1971 not one person, including myself, believed I would ever become a Cabinet secretary.”

LaHood, Bradley’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2008, received another degree from President Joanne Glasser at the May 14 ceremony — a doctor of humane letters degree.

“American politics has never been for the faint of heart,” said LaHood, a Bradley Centurion who began his career as a junior high social studies teacher. “What’s astounding — what seems so unlikely — is not only that we’ve made our messy form of democracy work, but that we’ve made it work so well.”

The transportation secretary advised graduates: “Open your minds to deliberation, to give-and-take, to compromise. You’d be surprised just how often paths of common courtesy lead to surprising places.”

He encouraged grads to thank the people who helped them reach this milestone in life. LaHood blogged about commencement a few days later.

Graduate School commencement

On May 12 at the new Renaissance Coliseum, recipients of master’s and doctoral degrees heard from keynote speaker Dr. JAMES RADOSEVICH ’78, now a professor of molecular biology at the University of Illinois. Radosevich’s work has changed the way many cancer patients receive treatment. He is credited with the discovery of a gene and has presented his work in more than 25 countries. Radosevich commended Dr. Alan Galsky, his biology professor, for guiding him to success at Bradley.

Radosevich encouraged graduates to find ways to help others succeed. “Don’t think out of the box; do out of the box,” he said.

Officially, 815 bachelor’s degrees were awarded in May, as well as 168 master’s degrees and 22 doctor of physical therapy degrees. Eight of the students were the first marketing majors to graduate with a concentration in social media marketing.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation RAY LaHOOD ’71 HON ’11 Dr. JAMES RADOSEVICH ’78

First ROTC commission

Chemistry major WILLIAM LOPEZ ’11 is the first Bradley student to be commissioned an officer in the Army since ROTC returned to campus three years ago. He was appointed a second lieutenant by Maj. Antwine Williams-Smith; his mother Renee Lopez (shown) and his girlfriend JENNA GENZ ’10 pinned on his new rank. Lopez will serve in the Army Reserves as a Medical Corps service officer. The special commissioning ceremony was held at the conclusion of commencement exercises on May 14. The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) returned to Bradley in 2008 after a hiatus of 10 years.