The Smith Center was filled with a brightly dressed crowd Thursday as an upbeat drum track played over the speakers during the Multicultural Graduation Celebration for students and families of diverse backgrounds.
If you missed the ceremony, here are the pieces of advice that students and Multicultural Student Services Center leaders gave to graduates.
1. “You may not see these folks again, despite your belief that you will.”
The center, which collaborates with GW’s admissions and career services offices, focuses on leadership and community building.
Director Michael Tapscott encouraged graduates to own up to their mistakes and avoiding taking friendships for granted.
“I want you to right every wrong you’ve had here before you leave. You never know how long it will be before you see these people again,” he said.
Tapscott also encouraged students to “find that one person you always wanted to get to know, or find that one person you always wanted to ask out, and tell them ‘I was always so fond of you, I hope we can stay in touch.'”
2. “Diversity – not the corporate America buzzword kind of diversity. The real kind of diversity that I found so special and memorable about my time here at GW.”
Brandon Aversano, a Luther Rice undergraduate research fellow and former student coordinator for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, spoke about his personal experiences at the University.
“We’ve all had barriers, and the MSSC has helped us overcome them. You and me and all of us can break down those chains together, stand here strong and powerful and celebrate this massive accomplishment,” he said.
3. “Hello, my name is ____. Remember me. You are amazing. I will remember you forever.”
Tapscott instructed graduates and attendees to recite these four sentences to five fellow graduates in the room, and to continue to say them to people they meet.
“That is a reflection of what life can be. Imagine if every time you went some place, that’s how your day started,” he said.
Tapscott also worked at Gallaudet, Tufts, American, George Mason and Regent universities before he came to GW, boasting experience in student affairs, athletics and financial aid.
4. “Pour the coffee for others.”
He also provided some practical advice for the graduates, encouraging them to “sit close to the boss in meetings, pick up around the office, greet all of your co-workers each day and hold the door for strangers.”