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May 18, 2018

Cristin Sauter 2018 Commencement Speech

Hello and welcome to everyone here today; graduates and their supporters – what a perfect reflection of the fact that we will all, as graduates, and as professionals with graduate degrees, be entering into communities in need of care, of the creation of, maintenance of, and navigation through meaningful, constructive interpersonal relationships, at their forefront.

As I graduate today with a degree in social work, I look forward to the position I have gained, by way of the connections I have made during my field placement this past year, as the Director of Design for the rehabilitation of the only park with swings in the city of Newburgh, New York. Today especially, we can all revel and fairly bask in our accomplishments as we continue on this journey we have so cleverly chosen to call life.

To the graduates, we have earned these seats through the often grueling, always rewarding, output of thousands of hours of contemplative, proficient work. To our families and our friends, you have put in tens, if not hundreds of thousands of hours into raising, supporting, empowering, understanding, advising, hearing and loving us unconditionally throughout and beyond the educational opportunities we have seized (and the ensuing guaranteed weekly meltdowns). I speak for us all when I say we in fact could not have surmounted such endeavors without your guidance, affection, reassurance and humor. To the faculty and staff of Adelphi, you have imparted us with the knowledge and skills our progressing world so desperately needs in the professionals who are going to be leading it.

This moment is precious, passing as I speak, and I ask for us all to pause together, take a breath now, and notice this beauty in celebration and togetherness. *Pause* Thank you. I’m 26, and you certainly didn’t have to listen to me. There are times in which I am struck by the magnitude of how much I don’t know, although you can rest assured I now know more about how to practice social work with individuals, organizations and communities than I did two years ago when I started at Adelphi’s Hudson Valley Center up in Poughkeepsie. Historically, my worldview has brightened whenever I have had the honor of witnessing the success of another, which I trust is the origin of my interest in becoming a social worker, and I know this is the experience of many of the graduates from every school here today. Graduate school has challenged me and continues to drive my capacity beyond merely intellectualizing learned material to the point of frequent self-reflection, deep internalization and the acknowledgement of the spectrum of experience and feeling, which can be quite demanding, but well worth the effort, as you may have experienced in the pause we shared just a minute ago.

For today’s remarks I surveyed some of my colleagues, not because I had no idea of what to say, but because the members of this class are incredible people and I have learned just as much from them during my time here as I have from the curriculum I followed. Shout out to those who suggested I highlight the strength, determination, perseverance and time management skills of these graduates, to my friend who suggested I divulge the immense potential we have as graduates in positively impacting the lives of others and making the world a better place for all, and thus, how every action we take in our professional careers is a proleptic step forward in mending our world. With a genuine heart I am honored to be in the presence of each and every one of you hardworking individuals.

I hope we are all able to recognize the value and meaning of our achievements today, as there is a world out there brimming with unresolved issues in need of our expertise and time that I’m sure we will be meeting with confidence tomorrow. Rock on.

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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