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WGU Bachelor's Ceremony, October 2019
WGU Bachelor's Ceremony, October 2019
Western Governors University
<p>WGU Bachelor's Commencement in Austin, Texas on October 12, 2019. Order of events: Processional; National Anthem sang by Nancy List; Welcome and Opening Remarks by WGU Texas Chancellor Dr. Steve Johnson; Commencement Address delivered by the founding Director of Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation, Daron K. Roberts; Graduate Speakers are Christina Fernandez and Lisa Prindle; Conferral of Degrees by WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Marni Baker Stein; Closing Remarks by WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Marni Baker Stein; Recessional.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Natalie Murray: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 75th commencement ceremony for Western Governors University. [Cheers and applause] Graduates, families, and friends, thank you for joining us as we celebrate this special occasion. Our ceremony is being recorded and streamed live over the Internet. A special welcome to all of our online participants joining us across the country and around the world. Please silence your cell phones, but keep them nearby as there will be an opportunity later in the program to share your achievement on social media. Please stand for the processional, and remain standing for the national anthem.</p> <p>[Processional and National Anthem] </p> <p>Steve Johnson: Thank you, thank you. Please take your seats. First of all, join me in thanking Nancy List from Smyrna, Tennessee, who is graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for performing the National Anthem. Thank you so very much. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Well, good afternoon, ya'll, or as we like to say, "all ya'll" 'cause there's a bunch of ya here. It's my honor to convene the 75th WGU commencement here in the great city of Austin, Texas. On behalf of the entire university, and our board of trustees, we welcome our honored graduates, and congratulate you on completing one of life's greatest achievements. Here, here. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>We also extend our warmest welcome to the many family members and friends who are here to support their graduates. In addition, we want to recognize and welcome the many graduates, who together with their family and friends, are watching this event via our live webcast. Graduates, it's likely today that you would not have been possible without friends and family at your side, through your journeys. Would all of you, the friends and families of our graduates please stand up? Graduates, let's thank them for their help and support in your journeys. [Cheers and applause] Thank you all. Thank you all. We know we go through life with those by our sides that help us in the journeys. </p> <p>At WGU we often have family members graduating together. If you're graduating with a family member today, would you please stand up to be recognized? [Cheers and applause] All right! It's truly great to see families share this accomplishment together. </p> <p>WGU is honored to be recognized year after year as a military friendly university. We would like to recognize the military members who are graduating. Would the graduates who are active duty, reservists, veterans and military spouses, please stand to be recognized. [Cheers and applause] Thank you all for your service to our country. </p> <p>And last, but not least, if you, our students and alumni, are the lifeblood of this institution, then the faculty and staff are at its heart. With you today are many of our WGU mentors, instructors, and other employees. If you've been a beneficiary of the time, and dedication they put into their work, please put your hands together one last time to give them a round of applause. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>WGU enrolled its first student 20 years ago. Now the university has more than 155,000 graduates all across this country. Since our last commencement in September, just one month ago, more than 3,000 students have graduated from WGU. Today more than 1500 graduates are joining us at our two ceremonies here in Austin, to be individually recognized for earning their degrees. Among these 810 and have earned their bachelor's degrees, and 695 have earned their master's degrees. </p> <p>You all represent 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. And I'm proud to say I'm a little biased of the 1500 attending, 999 are from the great state of Texas. [Cheers and applause] Thank you all for being here. It's our privilege to recognize you on this very special day. </p> <p>Let me share some additional facts about today's graduating class, including both master's and bachelor's graduates. Seventy two percent of you are the first in your family to earn a college degree. We extend a special congratulations to you. [Cheers and applause] Your average age is 38. Seventy percent of you are women. On average you completed your undergraduate program in two years, and two months, that's amazing. Congratulations. [Applause] </p> <p>Now today's commencement celebrates you, our graduates, for setting and accomplishing a significant goal in moving to a whole new stage of your life. You join only 33 percent of the adults in the United States who hold a bachelor's degree. Much will be expected of you as you continue your life journey, as you take leadership roles at work, and in your communities. Education is the great predictor of career success. You worked hard to attain an educational milestone that will change the course of your own history and influence future generations. Thank you for letting us all at WGU play a part in the fulfillment of your dreams. </p> <p>Now, it's my pleasure to introduce Daron Roberts. Daron is a former NFL coach, and author of Call an Audible. He is the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation here at the University of Texas. The center is the first university based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. </p> <p>Through the center, Roberts teaches a course: A Game Plan for Winning at Life, to incoming freshman student athletes. Roberts holds a faculty appointment in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. He has received a Silver Spur Centennial Teaching Award, and the Creative Engagement Award. And he was named a distinguished faculty member by the School of Undergraduate Studies in 2015. His research revolved around the issues of rejection, failure management, and leadership. </p> <p>He's been featured in ESPN the magazine, Bloomberg, Business Week, and Sports Illustrated. His articles have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, Fortune, the Houston Chronicle, and Time magazine. Roberts is also the host of an industry leading podcast, A Tribe Called Yes. And you can access that on iTunes and Stitcher. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Daron Roberts. [Applause] </p> <p>Daron K. Roberts: All right, graduates, stand up. I know you're cozy, I don't care. All right, I want you to turn around, look up in the rafters. I want you to blow a kiss to all of the friends, and the abuelas, and the cousins, and moms and pops. [Cheers] We can't have enough gratitude, so thank you so much. Oh, look at the love. You can have a seat now, get this going. [Cheers] This is a rowdy group, I love it! </p> <p>So all of those people up there, they were with you during late nights, they brought you menudo and Whataburger. [Laughter] And now you're here. I grew up in the piney woods of East Texas. [Cheers] Here we go, we got some east Texans here. I'm a fifth generation East Texan. At the age of six my dad takes out a map of Panola County which is where we grew up. And there's a plot of land. The map was drawn in 1870. A plot of land has 160 acres and it's owned by Bill Roberts. </p> <p>Bill Roberts was my great great grandfather. And in my family, it is still a mystery how this black man in east Texas, five years removed from the end of the Civil War, found some way to accumulate 160 acres. But I remember at the age of six, my dad turned to me and he would point to the map, and he would point to me, and he would say, "We don't know how Bill Roberts got this land, but I can tell you one thing, he didn't get it from sleeping in." </p> <p>So with that, I set a goal for myself to become the governor of Texas by age 40. Ask me how old I'll be in a month. Okay, thank you, I'll tell you, 41. [Laughter] So obviously I took a wrong turn somewhere. I went to the school across the street in 1997. It was a campus of 50,000 students, I was from a small town of 12,291. I graduate and I apply to Harvard Law School. I didn't get accepted, didn't get rejected, what's in the middle? The dreaded wait list, dum, dum, dum! </p> <p>I'll paraphrase for you, here is how the letter read. "Dear, Daron, we like you. Unfortunately, we like so many more people more than we like you. [Laughter] Now, Daron, in the highly unlikely event that all of those individuals turn us down, we may reach back out to you. But Daron, if you have any viable options for law school, we highly advise you to take them. With love, Joyce P. Kerl, Dean of Admissions." </p> <p>So I was devastated. I walked around for three days in sackcloth and ashes. Worked in D.C. I reapplied each year. For four straight years I was wait listed. And I'll tell you just how lazy the admissions committee was. It was as if they printed the exact same letter, just changed the date at the top, and mailed it to me. </p> <p>My mom calls me, elementary school principal, Mount Pleasant, Texas, she calls me, and she says, "Daron, you know I love you, don't you?" Now listen, side note, if you're in a relationship, and the conversation begins with your partner telling you, "You know I love you..." there's a good chance this isn't going to end the right way. I said, "Yeah, Mom, I know you love me, you know, cared for me, gave birth, all those things." She said, "Well, Daron, I don't know how to say this, but... I don't think Harvard wants you." I said, "Ooh! Whoo!" [Laughter] Deathblow. </p> <p>I said, "Mom, you know, I go to your elementary school, and you walk through the hallways, and you see these signs like, reach for the stars, and keep your face to the sunshine." I said, "What about all that?" She said, "Yeah, honey, that's for young people." [Laughter] "You're old now." I was 26 at the time, mind you. I said, "Well I'm going to give it one more shot." So I finally get in to my dream school. I am going through the motions in law school, and then I work a football camp before my third year of school. And listen, the volunteers ask for someone to fill in. It was the best three days of my life. I was coaching 60 6th graders, none of whom had any athletic talent whatsoever. Luckily they had a coach who had no coaching abilities at all. [Laughter] We were a match made in heaven. </p> <p>But I noticed something. For the first time in my life, I did not have to set my alarm clock to get up. For three days of this camp, I was up before the crack of dawn, excited to hit the field. And so when I went back to Boston for my last year of school, I called Mom again, and I said, "Mom, I want to be a football coach. I'm excited." My mom says, "Let me put your dad on the phone." [Laughter] Enter Reverend Kurt Roberts, 42 years, Baptist minister, Mount Olive Baptist Church. </p> <p>Dad: "What is this about you wanting to be a football coach?" Daron: "Yeah, Dad, I worked this camp " he said, "Yeah, whatever." Dad: "Son, do you know how much debt you're in?" [Laughter] So let me tell you, graduates, I had racked up a quarter of a million dollars in debt between... whoo! Yeah, whoo! Is right. Between grad school, and law school. And the deal was, when I was in high school, my parents would pay for undergrad, but I was on the hook for grad and law school. And I said, "Well, Dad, you know, I got a " I was fortunate to get a full scholarship to go to undergrad. "And so by my very crude accounting... it appears you and Mom owe me around $68,422.64." [Laughter] </p> <p>So my dad, being a minister that he is, he says, "Well, son, let's pray." So we bow over the phone. He hangs up, I still haven't seen a check. [Laughter] I decided I wanted to be a coach. I wrote a letter to every team in the NFL. There are 32. Got 31 rejections. Dallas Cowboys, no. Houston Texans, no. New England Patriots, no. The Kansas City Chiefs, yes! [Cheers] There are always random Chiefs fans in any crowd. [Laughter] Coach Herm Edwards calls me and he says, "This is Herm Edwards, may I please speak with Daron Roberts?" "Yes, sir, this is he." He said, "Son, what's wrong with you? [Laughter] I read your cover letter, and you're in law school." He said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Coach, I worked this camp, and I know this is the path for me." </p> <p>He said, "Listen, son, take out a piece of paper, I want you to write this down. We're going to hire you as a training camp intern." So "training camp intern." "No pay." Okay, "no pay." "No benefits." Only gets better, "no benefits." [Laughter] He says, "You're going to be working 18 hour days." Oh. So the lawyer side of me is thinking this sounds like some kind of employment claim, right? 18 hour days, no pay, no benefits. But I said, "Sign me up." </p> <p>I did that for a season, I slept in Arrowhead in a deserted room for six months because I wanted to be the first face that Herm Edwards saw. At the end of the season, he hired me on full time, and I spent seven years coaching. And then returned back to UT to teach classes on leadership. </p> <p>I think about your journey and so many of you have pushed through the naysayers and the doubters, people on social media, right? Everyone has an opinion on what you should do with your life. But all of you carved out the time and the energy and the grit to push forward to this very moment. </p> <p>I have three thoughts for you as you launch into this next phase of your expedition. Number one, and don't be alarmed, we will die. Okay, not today. All of us will die. Time is a finite resource. You hear people say, "I have time, I have time, I have time." It is a finite resource. And at some point the clock will run out for all of us. I want you to keep pushing forward. This achievement that you have reached, this won't be the high watermark in your life. I want you to bring to every single day that you are able to wake up, to open your eyes, and to move forward. To bring an intentionality and a sense of purpose to all that you do because time waits for none of us. </p> <p>Number two, hope is not a strategy. All right, hope is not a strategy. My grandmother would always put it like this to me, she said, "Daron, you know, prayers are great, but at some point you have to put some feet on your prayers. You have to put some feet on your prayers." Listen, life favors the people who stay in motion. Hope is a beautiful thing, it keeps our face towards the sunshine, but action is the thing that keeps us alive. So all of those things that you've been thinking about doing: Opening up the LLC, starting the non profit, right, taking on a leadership position in your community. All of those things that you've been thinking about and putting off into the future, put them into the present tense. </p> <p>We're living in an age where there are no more excuses. So a 97 year old man, the University of Texas, just won the Noble Prize for chemistry. And a 16 year old girl from Sweden just held her own against the United Nations. [Applause] This is your time, regardless of age, regardless of what neighborhood you're from. This is your time to realize all of the goals that you've had in your life, so let's watch for it, and move to that end. </p> <p>And finally, stay in the deep end. Stay in the deep end. At some point all of you decided that you wanted more, and I'm sure you heard a million reasons for why you should not pursue this degree. You're too old. You don't have enough money. You have a good job. And you did it anyway. You pushed past all of the commentary that was trying to hold you back, and you said, I'm going to do this for me. I want you to hold onto that grit. Because in 2019, the barriers to entry have become exceedingly low. No office? WeWork. No Wi Fi? Starbucks. No contacts? LinkedIn. No skills? YouTube. [Laughter] No degree? WGU. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>In 1857, Fredrick Douglas was staring as a country that was at war with itself, and this man was no stranger to waging war against the status quo. At a very early age he took on the identity of a naval officer and found his way to freedom in the North. And so facing this imminent battle in the country, he penned these words. He said, "The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all absorbing. And for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must it must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle, there is no progress." If there is no struggle, there is no progress. If there is no struggle, graduates, there is no progress. Stay in the deep end. Thank you. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Steve Johnson: Thank you, Daron, so very much. And now we have the privilege of hearing from two graduates. They are Christina Fernandez, who is receiving her Bachelor of Science in IT Database, and she is from Allen, Texas. And Lisa Prindle, who is receiving her Bachelor of Arts, Special Education, from Fountain, Colorado. Please join me in welcoming first to the lectern, Christina. [Applause] </p> <p>Christina Fernandez: Ooh, no pressure. Like most of you in the room today, my journey has been anything but ordinary. Like many others here, I took the long road to a college education. Perhaps some of you have had to approve yourselves. Perhaps you have been told things by people that you love and admire or even perfect strangers who don't know your strengths, that you can't, shouldn't, or won't. I've been told that I can't, I shouldn't, and I won't. But I'm here to tell you that I did, and I will. And so will you. So are you. So are we. </p> <p>After some time as a pastry chef, the hip issue I was born with became more pronounced and working in hot kitchens became too painful. I had to reassess what that meant for me and my family. I was working in customer service and found it to be the most soul sucking job. [Laughter] Food service and retail had nothing on those phone calls. I was on the phone with a "lovely" customer who called me a name that I actually had to Google, when I realized, I am so much better than this. I deserved more. </p> <p>I took the first step by transferring into a tech support role, but I knew finding a satisfying career would require a bachelor's degree. I began researching careers that would leave time for my amazing husband, and weird and wonderful children who are over there making noise. [Chuckles] I found data science, and data analysis. Then I researched colleges that would help me reach that goal. I found WGU and my life has never been the same. </p> <p>Like others in this room, I had to obtain some sort of IT certification to be admitted into WGU's IT College. So I studied hard, watched Professor Messer YouTube videos, and took the exams. I became A+ certified, which made me the first person on my team to obtain any IT certifications while also working full time. That was the easy part. Then the courses started. Some I progressed through very quickly. Thank you spreadsheets for the easy win there. And for one of the English composition courses, I quoted the CEO of the company I work for. He requested to read the completed paper and he responded with positive remarks and ended the email with, "Don't ever give up." </p> <p>It reminded me of when Dory said, "Just keep swimming" in Finding Nemo. His email is still in my inbox from 2017. Of course not all courses went as smoothly as those two. Ya'll know. Without the help of course instructors, most especially Joe Barnhart, and Maria [Shink?] and some fellow students, I probably would've imploded from stress and confusion. But I just kept swimming. </p> <p>I'd also joined a non profit organization, the Dallas Pinup Dolls, who work with organizations all over the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex volunteering in everything from making sandwiches for the homeless, to gathering school supplies for low income students, to raising money for animal adoption charities. The skills I acquired at WGU allowed me to become the secretary and treasurer, and eventually the VP. </p> <p>Meanwhile, working in tech support, I was moving up pretty quickly. After my last tech support promotion, my step dad passed away, and his passing hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. But I had to keep swimming. My new goal was to finish this degree and make my mama smile. She's probably over there crying happy tears right now. I had to keep swimming so my step dad would be proud from above. </p> <p>I started knocking out courses like Babe Ruth hit homeruns. Another term was complete. I was down to my last and most difficult term. It was at that time I emailed the manager of the business intelligence department at work to see how I could give myself an edge when I completed my degree. As it turns out, they had an opening, and he had me meet with him that afternoon. Let me tell you, this little girl was starry-eyed up there on that bright and shiny third floor. This was where the "smart people" worked. I was a nervous wreck, kind of like now. </p> <p>But I guess he saw something in me, because I interviewed with him and his team two more times. The third time I was not leaving anything to chance, and I pulled out all the stops. I brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies and Promised Land milk the real deal. I was that serious about this position and they were that serious about eating cookies. [Laughter] </p> <p>I started as a business intelligence analyst on February 25th, and became the first female on my tech support team to be promoted. And the first person, male or female to work their way up from customer service to a corporate level position. [Cheers and applause] On my first day my new boss jokingly told me to finish my degree or I'm fired. [Laughter] Just keep swimming indeed. </p> <p>Along this road I was told I was not qualified for the various positions I held. I was told I would never make it in this profession. But in the words of my clever punk rocker daughter, "Don't tell me what to do, I don't have to listen to you." [Laughter] When someone tells you that can't, shouldn't, or won't, prove them wrong. Don't argue with them, just show up and do it. Just keep swimming. When you're told there is no way, make a way. Just keep swimming. </p> <p>I leave you with these lyrics from one of my favorite bands, The Interrupters. "What's your plan for tomorrow, are you a leader, or will you follow?" I choose to keep swimming and lead; obviously following was never my style. [Applause] </p> <p>Lisa Prindle: I got to follow two of them. [Chuckles] Wow, thank you for selecting me to be up here. I worked in education for 20 years. And I've always dreamed of becoming a teacher. But over the years, I've had a lot of reasons to question the school. Or to even give up on it entirely. I was often told that I was "too happy or too enthusiastic or too cheerful." My own son in law, who works at the same school once asked me, "Are you trying to irritate people?" [Laughter] When I asked, "What do you mean?" He pointed out that I like to sing as the kids get off the bus. "It's too early in the morning to be that cheerful," he told me. </p> <p>But I always believe that kids deserve cheerful. They deserve someone who is too enthusiastic about nurturing their young minds and starting their day off with a positive attitude and an excitement to learn. </p> <p>When I was a paraprofessional, someone once told me to stop doing all the extra stuff like coming up with learning games or staying late to help a student. Because I was making them look bad. But for me, it wasn't about them looking bad or about me looking good, it was about the students. I was enthusiastic, cheerful, and energetic because teaching was my passion. These kids were my passion. </p> <p>Before getting into education, I had gone to school with a goal of getting into the medical field. But medicine it turns out was not my real passion. I started working in education in 1999 in San Diego. I first started as a volunteer and then moved on to become a para. My oldest child, who was seven at the time, was having behavioral problems in school, and I was being called nearly every single day. </p> <p>At the time, he had been given a standard ADHD diagnosis. It wasn't until later that he would be identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder. I worked with him on his behaviors, and I stood by the motto, "it's okay to be mad or frustrated, but it's not okay to be mean." My experiences working with my son were crucial to my work as a para, and my experiences in the classroom. In turn, strengthened my skills as a mom with special needs. </p> <p>In fact, in 2005, we adopted four children out of the foster care system. Two of them suffered with reactive attachment disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome. It was very difficult to parent these kiddos, but we did all we could. And during those years I continued to work with students whenever I could. </p> <p>Once most of my children had graduated, I decided it was time for me to finally get my teaching degree. I had enjoyed being in the classroom so much, but despite my passion, I remained plagued by bullying I had received earlier in my career for being "too much." Then I found Erin Gruwell, a teacher from California whose students, known as the Freedom Riders, wrote a series of diary entries that turned into a Hillary Swank movie. The opportunities were considered unteachable, and at risk. But Miss Gruwell knew better. She saw an ugly incident in her classroom and turned it into a learning moment. And it changed the lives of those students. It also changed my life. </p> <p>One day, I was reading one of Miss Gruwell's diary entries. I began to cry... right in front of the students. She told of being bullied for being "too preppy," criticized for being "too enthusiastic." She was told she cared "too much" because she used her own money to buy books and take her at risk students on field trips so that they could have the same experiences as other students. She was doubting herself and her calling. </p> <p>But then she writes: "My hypocrisy hit me. All year long I had encouraged my students to avoid using labels like 'all' and other gross generalizations. If I let a few other teachers chase me away, the kids would be the ultimate losers. They would think that I, like so many others, had bailed on them." When I read this I realized that like Miss Gruwell, my motivation has always been my students. So I kept going, kept trying, and held my head high. I completed that school year saying good bye to my students as their para, and this fall, I returned as their student teacher, thanks to WGU. [Applause] </p> <p>Thank you. Like Erin Gruwell, I choose these kids because I still believe that any child can learn. Oh, and my son... the one on the spectrum, he went on to serve four years in the United States Marine Corps [cheers and applause] including a deployment to Afghanistan. [Applause] He graduated with his associate's in criminal justice, and is currently at UCSS majoring in criminal justice, forensics. [Applause] He just needed someone who didn't give up on him, and someone who held him to higher standards. </p> <p>I will continue to hold every student to the same high standard, even if the world has low expectations for them. They are why I became a teacher. So while I am too enthusiastic, too cheerful, these kids are my kids. I will be there for them now, thanks to WGU, as their teacher. And they will always know they have a safe place to come to in my classroom. [Applause] </p> <p>Thank you, and congratulations class of 2019 for never giving up! [Applause] </p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: Thank you for those inspiring stories. Let's hear it once again for Christina Fernandez and Lisa Prindle. Amazing. [Applause] </p> <p>Okay. We will now recognize each of our bachelor's degree graduates. Would the candidates for bachelor's degrees and post baccalaureate teacher preparation endorsements please rise so let's stand up here, all right? And everybody at home, sitting on the couch, you guys stand up too, this is an exciting moment. </p> <p>Upon the favorable recommendation of our faculty, and the authority vested in me, by the board of trustees, and member governors of Western Governors University, I hereby confer upon you the Bachelor's degree or endorsement you have earned to include the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, or the Post baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Endorsement with all of the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. You may now move the tassel from the right to the left side of your mortarboard. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Congratulations. Congratulations on this important milestone in your lives. So let's please be seated for the moment. Folks at home, you can sit down too. The following leaders from each of our colleges will now present the diplomas to our graduates. Dr. Bruce Stetar, Academic Programs Director, College of Business; Dr. Jan Jones Schenk, Dean and Academic Vice President, College of Health Professions; Chris Helmueller, Administrative Director, College of Information Technology; and Dr. Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Academic Operations Vice President, Teachers College. </p> <p>[Reading of graduates] </p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: Graduates, please accept our sincere congratulations. You now join the ranks of more than 155,000 WGU alumni worldwide. [Applause] That's, right, that's a big family. We have an active alumni community, and we invite you to stay involved. Visit alumni.WGU.edu to connect with your fellow night owls, and take advantage of many benefits and resources there. </p> <p>For many of you, earning this degree is the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. The academic degree you have earned at WGU will open doors, and allow you to explore new opportunities. But it's important to remember that commencement is not the end, it represents a new beginning. I encourage you to explore your dreams, to dare to discover, and follow your passions. Whatever you choose to do, do it well, and great things will follow. </p> <p>Learning is a lifelong journey every day, and one that's now a habit of both your mind and your heart. I urge you as you continue your journey to reach out to others who are in pursuit of their dreams, identify meaningful ways that you can contribute to your communities, and that you can contribute to your neighborhoods. And help us find our way as a country to unite and create a better pathway for our children, and our children's children. </p> <p>Now let's take a minute and celebrate with a selfie. I'm going to invite Steve up here. So we're going to take a selfie, and do you have directions? </p> <p>Steve Johnson: And then we're going to turn around, and I'm going to take a picture of all of you, but I want goofy you, okay? </p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: Goofy you. All right, here we go. All right. Okay. You like your look? All right. Awesome. Here we go, let it shine! There you go, that's perfect! </p> <p>Steve Johnson: Come on! </p> <p>[Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Marni Baker Stein: As you celebrate on social media, please remember to use the hashtag WGUgrad so we can encourage our fellow night owls who are following in your footsteps. This now concludes our commencement ceremony. Please remain seated until our graduates have filed out. Thank you so much. [Cheers and applause]</p>
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