At Erikson’s 47th commencement ceremony, 88 graduates received their master’s degrees in child development or early childhood education, and three received their doctoral degrees in child development.

Honorary doctorates were awarded to Lisa D. Delpit, Ed.D., the Felton G. Clark Distinguished Professor of Education at Southern University, and Susan R. Kiphart, M.Ed. ’72, a philanthropist and Erikson alumna.

The commencement was the first for Erikson’s new president, Geoffrey A. Nagle.

“All of us at Erikson are tremendously proud of your efforts and your achievements because, make no mistake about it, graduating from Erikson is an achievement,” Nagle said. “Sixty percent of our applicants apply only to Erikson. If they can’t get in here, they don’t want a master’s degree. You chose Erikson Institute in order to make the greatest difference you can.”

This year’s graduates will go on to an array of diverse careers including:

  • Preschool program coordinator for a children’s museum
  • Child life specialist at a children’s hospital
  • Developmental therapists
  • Preschool, elementary, and special education teachers

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Delpit tells graduates to imagine best possible future

Delpit, an eminent scholar in understanding the complexities of pedagogy and policies surrounding public education in America, reminded graduates to work toward creating equal opportunity for all children.

“We have to not only value our children but we have to convince them to value themselves,” Delpit said.

“You have the ability to change the world,” she said, and advised graduates to see in children “the best possible future that you can possibly believe for them.”

Video of Lisa Delpit’s remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.

Kiphart speaks of value of Erikson education

Kiphart graduated in 1972 in one of the first Erikson classes, after teaching kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Later in her career, she served for 14 years as the director of Children’s Ministries at Kenilworth Union Church.

Her Erikson education “is the most flexible, useful and valuable because it is about human development,” Kipart told graduates. “It will advance your understanding of every friendship and every family member.”

“Child development is a science and an art,” she said. “All children, everywhere in the world, are of equal value and of equal concern.”

Video of Susan Kipart’s remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.

President Nagle welcomes graduates and families to commencement

Nagle opened the commencement ceremony by reflecting on the accomplishments and commitment of the graduates.

“What makes me so excited today is to be here with you, a truly exceptional group of people,” said Nagle. “I say with great confidence that you are exceptional, because you wouldn’t be here today if you had not already committed your lives to a higher calling. You are remarkable people who will do remarkable things. You are the rare kind of people who greet challenge not simply with determination, but with love, joy, compassion, skill, and knowledge.”

Video of Geoffrey Nagle’s opening remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.