College of Professional Studies sends off grads with talks of love

Education and employment authority Anthony Carnevale urged graduates of the College of Professional Studies May 14 to make the most of their statuses as part of a different strain of student.

Graduates of the college represent a diverse mix of professionally focused and custom majors ranging from public relations to police science.

“In the parlance of economists and scholars these days, you’re what’s called non-traditional students,” Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said to the more than 300 graduates in Lisner Auditorium.

He said the college’s students are traditional in the sense that they have a respect for education, seeing it as a device “to improve yourself and your prospects.”

President Bill Clinton appointed Carnevale to chair the National Commission for Employment Policy, and he also served as vice president of Educational Testing Services, a research organization for academic assessments, from 1996 to 2003.

“If you have a love of learning, it will always love you back, much the way work often will,” he said. “And not all relationships will turn out that way in your life.”

In her address to the graduates, College of Professional Studies Dean Kathleen Burke noted the youth of the college, which formed 10 years ago. In its fifth graduation ceremony, the Class of 2011 marked the largest class to date.

“We anticipate and appreciate the contributions you make as citizens of this city, our nation and the world,” she said.

Burke presented an award to Chuck Cushman, associate dean and acting executive director of the Graduate School of Political Management, in appreciation of his 13 years of service to the University. Cushman, who received a standing ovation from the graduates, will assume a new – and not yet named – position at Georgetown University.

Student speaker Christopher Signil, a distance-learning student in political management, challenged graduates to address future challenges with ingenuity and integrity.

“Our true victory must not rest in the accolades that we attain but rather in the lives that we change,” Signil said.

For many of the college’s graduates, earning a degree meant splitting time among school, work and family life.

“I’m glad to be done,” Nichole Brock, 30, said. Brock, who teaches at a middle school in Southeast D.C., received a master’s degree in middle-grade mathematics.

Her husband, Jay Brock, 33, and daughter, 1-year-old Adeline, were there to congratulate her, along with some of her students.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to see her start a three-year journey and, after working through the whole process, get through it,” Jay Brock said. “When she started, she didn’t think she would actually finish it. She kind of thought she would just take some classes. So it was really extraordinary to see her graduate today.”

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