Congratulations, Graduates

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By Matt Hawkins
May 16, 2015

Bradley’s Class of 2015 crossed the academic finish line at commencement ceremonies May 16. With degrees in hand, 823 undergraduates and 149 graduate students ventured from the Hilltop with eyes focused on bright futures.

Jerre Stead, executive chairman of global information firm IHS, Inc., encouraged graduates to pursue the impossible. Citing his lifelong passion for community service and work to address obesity, mental health and Alzheimer’s disease, he suggested dreams could be realized with hard work and sacrifice.

“We say ‘yes’ to the idea of the impossible,” Stead said. “Nothing is impossible if you think of how to get there and make it happen. We all need to be role models who want to create change.”

He also offered a counter to the common concept of life as a journey.


Undergraduate Ceremony

Graduate Ceremony

“My life is a race,” he said. “A journey is interesting, but a race says I’m here to make a difference in life, taking opportunities to do things I never thought about and assuming nothing is impossible.”

With tissues in hand, Bradley President Joanne Glasser shared students’ emotions as she delivered her final commencement address before retirement.

“Today’s ceremony marks the end to a most important, transformative chapter in our lives — our Bradley years,” she said. “My favorite part of the job has always been getting to know our wonderful, talented, surprising students and seeing you grow and blossom. I want you all to know that I have learned so very much from you and consider you all to be my greatest source of inspiration.”

Thea Hedemann, a chemistry and philosophy double major from Saskatchewan, Canada, left the Hilltop to pursue a doctorate and certificate in global health. The academics will enable her to chase her dream of public health advocacy.

She credited Bradley’s academics for making her dreams possible.

“Classes broadened my interests and led me to a double major,” she said. “I was able to learn so much from my professors, who were accessible, engaging and supportive. That made the Bradley learning environment special.”

Accounting major Dewayne Sexton, of West Bend, Wisconsin, reflected on friendships built through activities on campus.

“We had a tight-knit group I’ll miss,” he said. “When we weren’t together, we didn’t really know what to do.”

At the afternoon graduate ceremony, Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Calvin Butler ’91 implored students to use their advanced degrees to make significant contributions to society.

“Shame on us if we strive to become the best of the best, but we don’t reach out to help someone else,” he said. “As you do well, load the elevator with people to enjoy your ride up. Enhance, enjoy and embrace the ability you’ve earned from your degree to go far wherever you are.”