Tears of joy flowed at the Union Institute & University Florida Academic Center Commencement as over 70 adults realized the dream of earning their college degrees on July 22.
Degrees are life changing. “Graduation day validates why Union exists. We have made an impact on their lives with a degree they never thought they would have,” said Dr. Jay Keehn, executive director at the Florida Academic Center. “When life got in the way, we were here to help them finish. Union is a special place. Students are not numbers; we know each graduate’s story and struggles.”
New Master of Science in Organizational Leadership graduate and 2016 Criminal Justice Management alumna Markevya Johnson agrees. “The mission of Union was developed with me in mind. Giving working adults the opportunity to advance their education while offering a flexible schedule was exactly what I needed. I am a wife, mother of two children (ages 11 and 8), and a fulltime employee. The flexibility of Union’s online courses was a perfect fit for my busy schedule.”
Graduate Toni Soldano explains. “My MSOL degree was so important to me! The degree has expanded my skillset at work and will open opportunities for me in my career. It has given me confidence and enthusiasm for what is to come.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Kim Byas, UI&U doctoral alumnus and Board of Trustees member, challenged the new alumni to make a personal and professional mission statement that reflects their values. He encouraged them to consider the following points:
- Why am I here on earth?
- What is my unique or distinctive characteristic?
- In life and in my work, what is most important to me?
- What philosophical issues, personal values, and priorities are important to my career?
- Outside of my organization, for whom am I working?
Dr. Byas concluded by reminding the graduates that they are now part of the Union Institute & University legacy, a university founded and committed to advancing social justice, and urged them to remember their commitment to social justice.
Union hosts academic center graduations throughout the year. The California Academic Center graduation is Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. For more details click here. National Commencement is Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, 35 West Fifth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more details click here.