President John C. Bravman

Class of 2022 Commencement remarks, delivered by President John C. Bravman, May 22, 2022.

President Bravman Commencement Remarks

Welcome and Introduction

Thank you. Please be seated. 

Well, good morning on this glorious day! My name is John and I am the president of this great University. 

I am pleased to welcome the families and friends of the Class of 2022 who have traveled here today to join us in celebrating the newest graduates of Bucknell University. 

Welcome to our University's faculty and staff. They've supported every step of your journey. And they are here today, filled with pride, to share in the joy of your accomplishment.

We also welcome members of our Board of Trustees who are here for this culminating event. They are generous volunteer leaders who are dedicated to the stewardship of our great University. 

I want to thank especially our keynote speaker, Ms. Daisy Auger-Domínguez, a proud member of the Class of 1995, for returning to Bucknell to address the Class of 2022 today. We are thrilled to welcome her home, and we look forward to hearing her special message for our graduates.

Let's make it official: Congratulations, Class of 2022! 'ray Bucknell! 

Today we celebrate our degree candidates and their years of hard work and dedication. You have risen to the challenge and today join a community of more than 50,000 alumni worldwide. 

A lot has happened, to say the least, since your arrival at Bucknell nearly four years ago. Remember where you were on the evening of Aug. 19, 2018? 

Most of you were gathered in the Weis Center, where I delivered my Convocation address to the Class of 2022.

In those remarks I said, "in 1372 days you'll be sitting on the academic quad celebrating your graduation. Here were are, and little did we know what lay between then and now."

A convocation is a milestone occasion for first-year students. It is held the night before their first classes begin, and marks the beginning of the undergraduate journey. It is a time of excitement, mixed with more than a bit of trepidation and uncertainty. 

At Convocation, you might have wondered if you were really ready to meet the demands of college academics — or if you could even find your classes. 

You might have felt anxious about making new friends. 

Maybe you felt hungry and wondered if the caf would still be open if only I ever stopped talking.

But we at Bucknell knew you would thrive here. That's why we invited you to be part of this class. And on that night, I encouraged you to embrace life's most daunting challenges, starting immediately.

Little did we know.

As evidenced by your accomplishments of the past four years, you took my words to heart. You tested scientific theories. You conducted fieldwork. You sang and danced. You wrote papers of increasing complexity. You started businesses and you studied abroad. You stepped up to volunteer, and to lead. And you took risks. 

You weren't always quite sure what you were doing. But you learned to lean into uncertainty. 

Little did we know.

You tapped into your critical thinking skills and leveraged the power of collaboration. You became adept communicators. When you hit snags, you stayed focused and flexible, and you adjusted as needed to reach your goals. 

These are core values for Bucknellians everywhere, and they will last you a lifetime. Whether you're an artist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, your presence on Malesardi Quad this morning proves that you have the skills that have served our alumni so well for generations past. 

And now, for the best part. The same values and skills that allow you to seize unexpected opportunities also equip you to handle the other type of uncertainty: the kind that comes with a crisis. 

As you do know so well.

You've undoubtedly faced setbacks as a student. A disappointing grade, maybe a romance that didn't quite work out as you’d hoped, or perhaps a season-ending injury. Again, your very presence here demonstrates your ability to meet unexpected difficulties head-on.

And of course, as a group you faced perhaps the biggest hurdle of all: More than half of your undergraduate experience has taken place in the context of a global pandemic. 

Since March of 2020, you've navigated the challenges of the pandemic's most uncertain days, while continuing to work toward your degree. Some of you experienced the loss of loved ones. Yet your resolve remained constant, even as we all were uncertain what to expect as COVID-19 swept the globe. I am so extraordinarily proud of you and our community for everyone's commitment to your education, as well as your commitments to each other. 

As you leave campus today as a Bucknell graduate, do so with the confidence that you can handle anything. 

But remember, too, that none of us succeeds alone. You have had the support of your parents, family members and special friends, many of whom are here today to celebrate this milestone with you. In that vein, graduates I ask you to please rise, turn around, and thank them for their commitment and belief in your ability and potential. 

And now I ask that everyone who is able to please rise and join us in thanking the Bucknell faculty and staff, represented by my colleagues to the left and right. Every University employee cares so much about you. We are unbelievably proud of you, my dear, dear colleagues. 

Please be seated.

Now I'd like to offer a special welcome to a dear friend and special guest and someone who I quite truly love deeply. I think everyone here today is familiar with the name Malesardi — as in our beautiful Malesardi Quad. 

Doris Malesardi and her beloved late husband, Bob, a member of the Class of 1945, are among the greatest benefactors in the history of our institution. And I am thrilled to share that, yet again, she is here today to celebrate with you.

The Malesardi family is deeply committed to expanding access to Bucknell, as evidenced by their generous support of need-based financial aid. And by creating a matching-gift program to encourage others to follow their extraordinary example, they have amplified the impact of their giving mightily. We are extremely grateful for their foresight and leadership.

Doris, we are so honored to have you with us today. I ask everyone to please join me in thanking Doris Malesardi for all she and Bob have done to transform Bucknell! 

It's now my honor to introduce our keynote speaker, Ms. Daisy Auger-Domínguez, the chief people officer at Vice Media Group. A proud member of the Class of 1995, she has spent two decades designing and executing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies for organizations including the Walt Disney Company and Google. 

Ms. Auger-Domínguez began her career at Moody's Investors Service as a credit risk analyst, global manager of philanthropic programs, and its first head of diversity, inclusion and talent acquisition. She has since designed, led and scaled organizational transformations at some of America's largest companies and founded Auger-Domínguez Ventures, a workplace culture consultancy. 

In recognition of her professional accomplishments, Ms. Auger-Domínguez has been honored as one of Hispanic Executive's 10 Leaders as well as one of People en Español's 25 Most Powerful Women. 

And as a leader in the effort to make workplaces more representative, welcoming and equitable, Ms. Auger-Domínguez shares her insights in her new book, Inclusion Revolution: The Essential Guide to Dismantling Racial Inequity in the Workplace.

But she is more than a renowned speaker and alumnus, author and startup adviser. 

Like so many Bucknellians, she is dedicated to helping her community. She serves on the boards of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and St. Ann's Warehouse; and she is a recipient of the New York City Council Leadership in Community Service Award.

Ms. Auger-Domínguez exemplifies Bucknell values in another important way: She earned her degree in international relations and women's & gender studies, underscoring the versatility and power of a truly interdisciplinary, liberal arts education, which prepared her so well to succeed. By seizing opportunities as they arose and bringing her talents and confidence to bear, she has become a national leader in the diversity, equity and inclusion area, which is so vital to a strong and healthy society.

Daisy, we are so proud and honored to welcome you back to the other side of the podium, and we look forward to hearing your inspirational message today. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Daisy Auger-Domínguez.

Last Word

Thank you, Tarrin, for sharing your reflections with us today.

Graduates, go forward knowing that you will always be Bucknellians, and will carry the lessons of the last four years, and the ties to this community, with you forever. 

And please stay connected to Bucknell. We want to see how your story unfolds.

We congratulate you and wish you all the best.   

And now, I invite everyone who is able to please rise and join me in singing our alma mater.