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Former United Nations Ambassador Addresses CAS Graduates in University of La Verne Commencement

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury had some advice for the 387 spring 2021 graduates from the University of La Verne’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in their virtual commencement ceremony today. “Your positive goals for yourself should not be pursued at the expense of other people,” he said. “Recognize and value the positive in others. Recognize your mistakes and take responsibility for those. Do not find a scapegoat for your own failures, but learn from them.”

The event was live-streamed for graduates, their families, and friends. Graduates will also be able to take part in an in-person regalia event on June 12 in San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino where they will be able to walk across the stage as their name is read aloud to the cheers of their loved ones, in a public health-approved setting.

During his career as a diplomat, Chowdhury served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations from 1996 to 2001 and as the first Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world from 2002 to 2007. He is founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace coalition. The University of La Verne bestowed upon him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Gage Ramirez, a graduate with the Master of Science in Athletic Training degree, was selected as a student speaker. He recalled the hurdles in his undergraduate experience which, he said, “actually let me discover a true passion and the career I am pursuing now.” And, he said, “Let’s use this time to reflect on what has brought us to this moment, and let’s focus that energy into moving forward.”

CAS undergraduate speaker Sarah Morales reminded her fellow graduates, “You are not in a competition with the people who sit around you today. You are in a competition with yourself. And every day that you wake up is a new challenge to be better than the person you were the day before.” Looking into the future, she continued, “I promise you that the day you take your last breath, there is not going to be somebody there with a checklist marking off all the ways that you hit somebody’s definition of success and that you made it. It’s going to be you and yourself analyzing all of the ways you made yourself happy . . .and what kind of legacy are you leaving behind you.”

University President Devorah Lieberman said, “Graduates, you are well equipped to thrive as University of La Verne graduates.” They join an alumni family now numbering approximately 87,000 around the world. “You will continue to be our greatest treasures,” Lieberman added. “The university will forever be an extension of you and your home.”