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Commencement Address 2019

Commencement Address 2019

I have had the privilege of serving as a faculty member at TCNJ, before becoming Interim Dean. I can tell you that one of the most pleasant surprises for me as Dean was the number of alumni who continue to feel connected to, and value, TCNJ.

I would like to think that our faculty had some role in that, but I believe that the driving force is you – our student body.

You did not come to TCNJ as a freshman for lack of anything better to do. You came to TCNJ with a purpose.  You were goal oriented. You strove to succeed and you have succeeded.

You now have the basic tools – trained minds, analytical ability and critical thinking – that will serve you well in your future journey.

I have just a few words to share before we move to the awards and presentation of degrees.

There were parts of your time at TCNJ that were hard.  There will almost certainly be parts of your careers after TCNJ that will be harder.  Here are a few things that might help get you through those hard times.  Be generous of spirt, and praise others when they earn it. Do things for others that you do not want to do because you know it can make a difference.  Try, and try again, to see the other person’s point of view.  Do the best you can every day. Work hard. Be prepared. Get to the point. Invest in people and invest in yourselves. Hold others, and yourself, accountable.  Strive for excellence, and do not be afraid of failure.  It is not how many times you fall down that matters, what matters is how many times you get up.

None of these ideas are new, you have heard them all before, but I want you to consider these old ideas in a way that may be new to you.  There is a reason why ideas live long enough to get old.  It is because they have value; because they add to the quality of people’s lives.

How do these old ideas add value?  Because in combination they define what leadership is.  They describe the actual characteristics that every true leader possesses.

We need leaders and you have what it takes. Thank you and congratulations!

–Bozena Leven, PhD, Interim Dean
May 23, 2019

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