Honoring Graduates

(Photo by Duane Zehr)

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Matt Hawkins
May 14, 2016

Celebrations filled the Peoria Civic Center and Bradley’s Renaissance Coliseum as the Bradley family honored the Class of 2016. More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students received diplomas and looked forward to life’s next steps.

Student speaker Juan Vazquez, an electrical engineering graduate from Bolingbrook, Illinois, said his mother’s example laid the foundation for his Bradley experience. As a single mother, she worked to improve the family’s life and pushed her son to attend college.

“I finally understand why my mom gave everything she had to allow me to attend college,” Vazquez said. “The University has helped me through my worst and pushed me to be my best, all the while watching me grow along the way. It has encouraged me to realize my true potential and actively seek to make a difference in the world.”

Bradley President Gary. R. Roberts ’70 highlighted Bradley alumni who positively impacted the world after they left the Hilltop. In light of those success stories, Roberts posed a challenge:

“Take a great deal of pride in your alma mater,” he said. “All of us join thousands of Bradley graduates who parlayed their education into positions of leadership and responsibility. Wherever your life’s journey takes you, your Bradley education will serve you well.”

Jason Simon, a marketing graduate from Warrenville, Illinois, will leave the Hilltop to attend graduate school at Indiana University, where he will pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. Reflecting on his Bradley years, he said academic accomplishments and friendships were his most enjoyable memories.

“I have numerous friends and connections with professors and staff members that I’ll keep up in years to come,” he said. “I can’t imagine attending another university where I could have such an amazing time with the people I met as a Bradley student.”

Liz Lundholm, a psychology and philosophy graduate from Machesney Park, Illinois, credited Bradley for academic and personal growth that will benefit her as she plans next steps.

“Bradley shaped me into a more confident, critical and socially focused individual,” she said. “There aren’t many undergraduate schools that allow you to plunge into research and work side-by-side on projects that you helped develop and design.”