Last week, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy celebrated the largest class the School has graduated in its 40 years of existence. This year’s graduates - 90 bachelor’s graduates, 119 master’s graduates and ten PhD graduates - are joining more than 3,500 SPP alumni in tackling the world’s public policy challenges. SPP’s ceremony took place May 20 in the Clarice Theater, where families and friends gathered in the Dekelboum Concert Hall to celebrate the graduates.
“We face new challenges at home and abroad. But you…are agents of change and a source of inspiration to others,” encouraged Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks MPM ’93, this year’s commencement speaker. “Our success in meeting these conditions is not preordained. But each generation rises to its challenges, and the Class of 2022 will do the same.”
Hicks described how choosing public policy meant making the world a better place by focusing on the problems facing citizens both locally and globally. She notes that there are real challenges at home, abroad and around the world, but the School of Public Policy prepared both her and this year’s graduates to meet those challenges with confidence.
“I know this because I once sat where you are sitting,” Hicks recalled. “The education that I received not only prepared me for my first job after graduating, but continues to inform me, today, nearly 30 years after leaving College Park.”
The graduating class also voted for two of their fellow graduates to speak during commencement: one graduate student and one undergraduate student. The student speakers this year were Adedayo Samuel Adeniyi MPP ’22 and Ifeoma Eleazu ‘22.
“Our ability to persevere and remain resilient makes this day and this moment unforgettable,” reflected Adeniyi, discussing the challenges his cohort had navigating education during the pandemic. “As difficult as these years have been, I do believe we are in the unique position to be amazing changemakers.”
Eleazu echoed those sentiments, adding that what was important now was for graduates to stay present in the moment and do what they can to meet those challenges.
“It doesn’t matter what you do with your degree. What matters is if you make a difference in the world,” said Eleazu. “Go into the world and do well, and most importantly, go into the world and do good.”