“It’s a rite of passage,” said Lamark Shaw, director of career services at Daemen.
During the ritual, neckties were given to students as a symbol of commitments they’d made: to be persistent, to not allow barriers to stop them, to be their own person, and to meet academic goals.
“It’s a tie, but really it’s much greater,” said Shaw. “It’s a promise.”
The tie ceremony was adapted from a similar observance developed for My Brother’s Keeper, a mentoring initiative created by the administration of President Barack Obama.
“The goal is to bring people together, creating connections and building family,” said Shaw. “Students should have places to go and people to talk to when they have questions – personal or not – and need guidance in their lives.”
A keynote address – “Destined for More” – was delivered by Frank Williams, vice president for strategic enrollment management at Nazareth College. Previously at Daemen, Williams rose to the role of vice president for enrollment management during his 13 years at the college.
“His story resonated with students,” said Shaw. “They can look at someone who has been through some of the same things they’ve experienced in their own lives. He’s someone who looks like them who came from similar situations and pushed through to find success.”
Students who participated in the ceremony completed a battery of requirements, including mandatory seminars and workshops. The Dare2Dream program also features guest speakers, dinner outings and social events.
“By the time students reach the end of the program, you see they have gained perspective, their thought processes are different, and we see another side of each person,” Shaw said.
Dare2Dream students also spoke at the event and were passionate about what they learned through the program and how it has impacted their lives, said Shaw.