Pelosi: You are the American dream.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated the class of 2008 at North Campus for achieving an academic milestone and joined them in applauding the professors and family members who helped them make it to graduation.
“I know you will use your education to continue to make the future better for your generation and for the next generations,” said Pelosi, the highest-ranking female elected official in the United States. “You are the American dream.”
Pelosi, the second person in line to the presidency, also graciously accepted an Honorary Bachelor of Science in Education from MDC.
“As I receive this honorary degree today with great pride, it creates a special bond between us,” she said. “So, my classmates, remember that you have a friend in the Speaker’s office.”
Pelosi delivered the keynote address to 1,100 students. Collegewide, MDC held seven commencement ceremonies for nearly 9,000 students earning associate and bachelor’s degrees.
In addition to Pelosi, MDC awarded honorary degrees to El Salvador President Elías Antonio Saca and Georgetown University President Dr. John J. DeGioia, all speakers at College commencement exercises.
Also delivering parting words to graduates were Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Richard D. Fain of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Liliam M. López of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Bill Diggs of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce.
For López, a College alumna, delivery of the keynote address at an MDC ceremony was a homecoming. “I go back many years, and I vividly remember when I graduated from North … standing where you are now,” she said. “This is your moment, your day. God bless you, and have a wonderful life.”
Spellings, a member of the U.S. President’s Cabinet and the country’s highest-ranking education official, noted the importance of the occasion to Kendall Campus graduates by indicating 90 percent of the fastest-growing jobs require education beyond high school.
She commended students like Jesús Reyes, the president of the Kendall Campus Student Government Association, for taking advantage of the opportunity that education provides.
Fain echoed this sentiment at the Medical Center Campus ceremony. “There is tremendous demand for your expertise,” he said. “Your education has prepared you.”
But students have a greater responsibility than personal fulfillment, said Saca, who is credited with turning El Salvador into one of the fastest-growing economies in the hemisphere.
“The power is in your hands,” he said. Later, he added, “You are a generation with much to correct, much to protect.”
“I come carrying the hopes of this nation,” Pelosi said. MDC has produced many passionate public servants, including U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Miami Mayor Manny Díaz and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, she said. “I hope some of you will keep the tradition of public service going.”
MDC’s commencement exercises were excitement-filled occasions, with friends and family celebrating with thunderous applause and cheers.
Carol Emmanuel, a friend of Medical Center Campus graduate Tabitha Glinton, spoke candidly about how exciting and emotionally laden graduation ceremonies are.
Emmanuel celebrated Glinton’s graduation from MDC’s Medical Technologies program alongside Glinton’s mother and daughter.
“I can’t come to graduation,” she exclaimed. “It always makes me cry.”
— Staff Report