Daemen College’s 67th annual commencement celebrated the Class of 2018 at undergraduate and graduate ceremonies held on May 19 in Kleinhans Music Hall.
In addressing the graduates, Daemen President Gary Olson said, “Each of you is a part of a very special college, and I feel confident that no matter what challenges you experience in your life, you will continue to meet those challenges with wisdom and integrity. Our collective future depends on a populace of critical thinkers. It depends, in part, on you.”
At the undergraduate ceremony, Emily Buzzard of Ransomsville, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, received the Charles L. Lumsden Award, the college’s most prestigious academic honor presented to the student with the highest GPA throughout their undergraduate years.
Undergraduate commencement speaker Dr. Candace S. Johnson, president and CEO of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, encouraged the graduates to “be your best advocate to get to where you want to be in your profession. As you go through your career, make an impression on your supervisor by getting your work done to the best of your ability and to do so in a positive way that will make you stand out and get noticed.”
Noting that role models are an important part of professional life, Johnson added, “An optimistic attitude will help you to be successful and to rise above difficulties you will encounter. Today is one of the best days of your life – enjoy this moment and enjoy the rest of your life.”
Graduate commencement speaker Paul A. Saffrin, chief executive officer of Vanocur Refractories, emphasized the value of mentorship in life.
“During the coming years, surround yourself with mentors who will recognize and support your potential and who will make your life better and more fulfilling,” said Saffrin, who also encouraged the graduates to give back to the community. “Find someone you aspire to be. In turn, one day you will have an opportunity to serve as a mentor to someone in your life.”
Along the journey ahead, “You will face a multitude of challenges and obstacles,” Saffrin said. “Prepare for these challenges that will come your way. Regardless of your chosen career, some of your greatest successes and best lessons learned will result from overcoming challenges. Build resilience within yourself. And always give 100 percent in what you do.”
During the commencement ceremonies, keynote speakers Johnson and Saffrin each received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.