This past Saturday, June 13, was a bittersweet day for DePaul graduates and their families and the entire university community, who celebrated the graduating Class of 2020 via online commencement ceremonies. A first in DePaul’s history due to unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business online ceremony flowed much in the same way an in-person commencement would have, with remarks from DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD; Interim Provost Salma Ghanem, Driehaus College of Business Dean Misty Johanson and a student commencement speaker.
Sharing words of encouragement and advice as Kellstadt’s student commencement speaker this year was Richard Dingraudo, a graduate of the Master of Science in Finance program.
“This is surely not how any of us envisioned today’s events unfolding,” he said to the camera, addressing his classmates. “While we are not all under the same roof, that does not lessen the overwhelming joy you should feel, as you, along with several thousand others, are recognized for all your hard work and accomplishments.”
As he reflected on his time at Kellstadt, Dingraudo shared how helpful it is to have a clear understanding of what is expected of us, whether that’s at the start of a class when a syllabus is provided, or in a job as you work toward a promotion. “Expectation is a great place to start,” he said. “But that’s nothing compared to what we’re capable of.
“Our capacity is this ever-moving bar that jumps just a little further and seemingly just out of reach, every time we cross the finish line of what is expected of us. At which point that finish line becomes a base line, one that we use to reset our goals and consider what we’ll accomplish next.”
Dingraudo went on to ask two things of his peers:
Take some time to inspect what you expect of yourself. Equipped with a Kellstadt degree, what new expectations will you set for yourself? He encouraged the Class of 2020 to revisit their self-imposed expectations on a regular basis in order to avoid complacency and to continue discovering what they’re capable of.
Pay it forward by being a member of somebody else’s team. From his parents who inspired in him a strong work ethic, to his professors who continued to be a source of wisdom and support even when classes went online in the spring, Dingraudo asked everyone to reflect on who supported them on their journey through graduate school and to acknowledge and thank them for being there. Then to pay it forward by being a supporter and advocate on someone else’s journey.
“Always remember the Vincentian values instilled in us at DePaul,” he said. “How they humble us to recognize that the opportunities afforded to us today are a gift.”
Watch Dingraudo’s full speech on Kellstadt’s 2020 online commencement ceremony webpage. His speech begins at 16:45 of the video.