Mildred García, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, told graduates at Ithaca College’s 124th Commencement ceremony that they have a profound responsibility to use the achievement of their degree to serve as a beacon of hope and opportunity for others. García delivered the main address to some 1,500 graduates at the ceremony on Sunday, May 19.
“Today we celebrate far more than a degree achieved; we honor a dream, your dream, realized,” García said. “I am proud that each of you now joins me and President Collado in being the change we want to see in the world, so that the next generation of diverse students encounters less obstacles and more opportunities, less discrimination and more equal pay, less broken hopes and more broken glass ceilings.”
Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado awarded García an honorary Doctor of Letters degree, which García dedicated to her parents. She described their journey from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, noting that they had only an eighth-grade education not from a lack of intelligence but from a lack of equitable access to quality education.