Commencement speakers inspire graduates to make a difference

At Erikson’s 46th commencement ceremony, 69 graduates received their master’s degrees in child development or early childhood education, and one a doctoral degree in child development with honors.

Honorary doctorates were awarded to Linda Darling-Hammond, Ph.D., Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, and Sandra Guthman, chair of the board of directors for the Polk Bros. Foundation.

[img_caption src=”” link= align=”right” caption=”Darling-Hammond, Meisels, and Guthman” alt=”Linda Darling-Hammond, Sam Meisels, and Sandra Guthman at commencement”]

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

  • Director of a childcare center for young children with disabilities
  • Child and family therapist in a domestic violence shelter
  • Research scientist providing child development information to toy manufacturers to help them improve the safety of their products
  • Preschool, elementary, and special education teachers

VIEW: Commencement photo gallery

Darling-Hammond reminds graduates to be courageous

Linda Darling-Hammond, who was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people in educational policy in 2006, called on graduates to use their education to make a difference through their work with young children.

“Never doubt that an individual can make a difference – in fact, that is the only way that a difference gets made. And know always how critically important your calling is to the welfare of children, families, this society, and the world – even when others may not recognize this fact,” Darling-Hammond said.

“I know that with the great education you’ve had here at Erikson Institute you have the knowledge, skills, and tools, as well as the moral commitment to do what is right and to make a real difference in this world. Stay connected; stay committed; stay courageous.”

Video of Linda Darling-Hammond’s remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.

Guthman commends work in early childhood

Sandra Guthman helped transform Polk Bros. from a retail giant to a philanthropic force in Chicago.

“We all have the same ultimate goal, and that is to help every child to become a productive citizen. I commend all of you for choosing to work to get them well-started. I am so proud to be affiliated with all of you,” Guthman said.

Video of Sandra Guthman’s remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.

Meisels highlights graduates’ dedication

This year’s commencement ceremony was the last for Erikson president Samuel J. Meiselswho leaves next month to become the founding executive director of the University of Nebraska’s new Buffett Early Childhood Institute.

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

Video of Meisels’s closing remarks at Erikson’s commencement ceremony. Watch on YouTube.