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Policy School Alumna Addresses Class of 2024; Urges them to ‘Never Stop Learning’

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graduate posing at commencement reception

On May 22, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy held its commencement ceremony at the Dekelboum Concert Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. With excitement and a renewed commitment to drive meaningful change, the Class of 2024, made up of 262 graduates, began their journey to move fearlessly forward addressing critical policy issues and creating innovative solutions.

Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Nina Harris commended graduates on their resilience amid the challenges of the pandemic, underscoring the importance of community support from family, friends and faculty, and celebrating students for their achievements. “The nature of school has changed. The nature of life has changed. Burdens haven’t fallen equally,” remarked Harris. “And yet, you have persevered, and not only survived, but truly thrived!”

Graduate student speaker Carmen Chamorro MPP ’24 emphasized the power of solidarity and kindness in the face of hardship, urging graduates to embody humanity and advocate for change. “As future policymakers, it is crucial for us to embody humanity and solidarity, especially during these times of widespread global conflicts and suffering. Our responsibilities as graduates go beyond personal success; we must actively engage in civic duties and utilize our knowledge and skills to drive positive change,” said Chamorro. “As we move forward, let us carry with us the lessons of perseverance, our civic duty to be agents of change and the memories of those we hold dear.”

Rowan Mohan ’24 , the undergraduate student speaker, referred to the Class of 2024 as a “cohort of changemakers,” reflecting on their journey of seeking clarity in their public policy studies, acknowledging the complexities of the world and urging graduates to embrace nuance and trust themselves as they navigate uncertainty. “Be it in life of policy, gray areas are everywhere. Subjectivity lingers in the counterarguments of policy memos, in the shadows of meaningful conversation, in the doorway of our everyday lives,” said Mohan. “Continue to rise to this challenge; you hold everything you need within yourself, and now the world needs you.”

Alumna Latanya Mapp ’91 MPM ’95, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, addressed the class of 2024, recognizing the power each graduate bears. “Allow me the pleasure to acknowledge the power each of you holds now and in the future. … It’s already at your core. And the work you’ve been doing at the School of Public Policy – identifying issues, understanding their complexities and implementing sustainable solutions that empower individuals and communities – is providing you the tools to assert that power.”

Continuing her inspiring speech, Mapp urged graduates to “bring integrity and ethics to policy change” and to prioritize lifelong learning throughout their lives. “Your ability to learn, to remain flexible and open-minded, will be one of your greatest assets and your pathway to growth and innovation. … Stay curious, seek out new knowledge and be willing to evolve and play. The most successful policy professionals are those who never stop learning, who continually seek to improve their understanding and expand their horizons.”

In conclusion, Mapp issued a call to action for the Class of 2024. “Embrace the challenges ahead with confidence and optimism. Use your power, keep learning and lead like you mean it. … Be the architects of systems that are just, equitable and sustainable. Your journey is just beginning, and the future is yours to shape.” Mapp’s impactful message highlighted the importance of their mission, imbuing each graduate with the understanding that they possess the ability to shape a better future.


For Media Inquiries:
Megan Campbell
Senior Director of Strategic Communications
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