May 18, 2018

Celia Wells 2018 Doctoral Hooding Speech

Good afternoon distinguished members of the Adelphi community assembled on stage; members of our faculty, administration and staff; families; friends; and honored graduates gathered here today.

Walt Disney said, “If you dream it, you can do it.” To the class of 2018, our dreams began some time ago. Today, we celebrate that dream. I congratulate you and your families for a job well done. 

On this celebrated day, the auditorium is filled with joy, love and happiness. And it should be, each of us has worked so hard to achieve our dream. You should be proud of your achievement. 

Throughout our studies, the dream of obtaining a doctoral degree at times almost seemed impossible. During this time, our lives were filled with long days, sleepless nights, and time spent away from the ones we love most. I have no doubt, that during these long years, we have all shared similar emotions and experiences.  

To summarize, feelings of frustration, countless research studies to read, more questions than answers, frustration, rewrite after rewrite after rewrite, rerun the data, frustration, and of course more rewrites. In the end, this rigorous process would eventually help us to develop a deeper understanding of our work. 

The time for us has been long, seasons have changed, and years have passed. At times, life has almost seemed to pass by us, maybe even stand still.

Some of us have experienced great sadness, such as the loss of a loved one, while others experienced happiness as some families have grown. Relationships with our classmates deepened, as we continued to move forward to achieve success.

But what is success? Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Success is a journey. Every individual measures success differently. How you define success is personal. However, we would all agree, that no matter how you define success it requires hard work, persistence and determination. 

Colleagues, what differentiates us from Einstein, Mozart, and Pasteur?  Did these great leaders know they were successful? What motivated them to greatness? Their work altered science and the arts influencing others for centuries.

Janusian thinking speculates that these leaders had the ability to look at opposing or contradictory views at the same time. To explain further, the best example is if you could imagine the picture we have all seen at one time, in which you’re asked “Do you see the face of an old woman or a young woman?” Interestingly, these great leaders had the ability to see both at the same time. There is a lesson to be learned in this. 

Colleagues, we have worked hard and we have achieved our dream. Thank your loved ones, celebrate your success with those that have supported you, loved you and have had patience with you. Now is the time to live life, acknowledge this great achievement, and share your new found freedom with those you love.

Enjoy life, feel the warmth of the sun, run with the wind, or perhaps now that you have time, learn a hobby.  Reinvigorate your mind, body and soul. For goodness sake colleagues, have some fun! Then, once you are rested, ask yourself, what will you do now that you have a doctoral degree? This degree comes with great responsibility and accountability.

Publish your dissertation. Ask new questions. Use a different lens to look at your work as Einstein and Pasteur did. Similar to these leaders, evaluate your question from two vantage points so that you can continue to expand your science and your profession.

As our lives take on a new direction as scientists and expert clinicians, we must continue to learn and seek to find the solutions to help others. By continuing your research, you just might find the answers that will someday, make someone else’s dream come true.

Thank you and God bless you!

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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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