WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of University of Hartford graduate students received their advanced degrees Saturday.
“It is critical for you to engage with people with whom you don’t agree. It shapes your experience and ultimately your judgment,” said U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) during his commencement address to more than 420 students before they received their master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates. Neal told the graduates that listening is the first step to ensuring that free speech is protected and guaranteed.
So much can be gained from listening-it generates thoughtful discussion, shows you care, expands your horizon and often leads to new ideas and compromise.”
University President Walter Harrison presided over his last Graduate Commencement on Saturday. He will retire in June after leading the University for 19 years.
Telling the students their graduate degree is the most significant academic achievement of their lives, Harrison said, “Most of the progress that has occurred since I first entered higher education nearly a half century ago has been achieved-or at least has been led by-people who have earned advanced degrees. I am certain that all of the progress that still lies ahead will be led by this same group of people, which after today includes you. So even as I congratulate you for your accomplishments, I challenge you to be leaders of change, leaders of progress, and leaders of more social justice in the world.”