Graduates mark new era, seek to improve world for all

Physical and Biological Sciences News

The word commencement means a beginning or a start—and yet it’s applied to a ceremony that marks the culmination of years of scholarly labors oriented toward the goal of obtaining a college degree.Indeed, for many of the approximately 3,200 UC Santa Cruz students in ceremonies this past weekend the occasion marks a culmination—the final step of a process that began in kindergarten. Many of the Banana Slugs have taken their last test, written their final paper, received one last grade.
But for many the word commencement describes this transformative step perfectly, as the 2018 UC Santa Cruz graduates embark on postgraduate careers, taking the principles, ideas, and relationships they collected during their time in Santa Cruz with them as they start a new chapter in life.
“I am sure all of us are dreading the fact that we are finally entering the adult world. Who is going to pay for our cell phone bills now?” quipped Kola Adesina, a Merrill College student who spoke at the college’s commencement ceremony on Saturday evening. “We must remember that this isn’t the end of an era but the start of a new beginning. After all, how can we expect to change the world if we are too afraid to enter it.”
The concept of new beginnings was a theme returned to over and over by the various commencement speakers that prefaced each ceremony with words of encouragement blended with entreaties for graduates to carry forward both the ideas and ideals they acquired while at UC Santa Cruz.
“Employ your ingenuity and brilliance to try and improve our world,” said Kingsley Odigie, an environmental scientist who earned his degree from UC Santa Cruz in 2012, during the Graduate Division commencement ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
Odigie also urged graduates to make further strides on the social justice front, with the elimination of …

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