FREDERICK, Maryland—First Lady Michelle Obama’s former policy director was the speaker at Hood College’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony this morning. The CEO of Spotluck, Inc. was the speaker at the afternoon’s graduate Commencement ceremony.
At the undergraduate ceremony, Kristhanti Vignarajah congratulated the graduates and asked for their help in promoting gender equity as they head out into the world to make a difference, delivering “a call to action on behalf of a generation that desperately needs you.”
“Today, I want to talk with you about the historic progress and modern plight of women in this country, about the journey that remains from citizenship to leadership, from having a seat at table to being at the head of it,” she said.
“To the men in the audience, this movement is about the mothers who brought you into this world, the daughters you will one day help bring into the world, and the women who are or will become your partners and best friends in everything you do. I don’t say this simply because the fate of women impacts the future of men, but because we need your help. Achieving true equality may be the one thing women cannot do alone.”
At the graduate ceremony, Cherian Thomas told the story of his start out of college and how he came to start Spotluck. He urged the graduates to surround themselves with the right people—people to mentor, complement, and support them—and they will find success.
“It’s not about finding the right job; it’s about finding the right people,” he said. “Find your missing pieces. Find those key people. Find that mentor and ride their coattails as far as you can. Find or be found. If you’re not starting a business, be a complement to someone who is. Find those who have supported you and right after this speech, and thank them. Your accomplishment today is just as exciting for them as it is for you.”
Two hundred eighty-two degrees were awarded at the undergraduate ceremony, and 230 at the graduate ceremony. In the undergraduate ceremony, retiring professors Roser Caminals-Heath, Carol Kolmerten, Betty Mayfield, Wanda Ruffin, Judy Sherman and Kerry Strand were awarded emeritus status. In the graduate ceremony, Professor Jeffrey Rossio was awarded emeritus status.
For videos and photos, visit www.hood.edu/commencement.