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Tearful Graduates Look Forward to the Future

image of Jonathan Hartline
Jonathan Hartline thanks all those who have helped him succeed
5/24/2011 —

Penn State Brandywine’s spring commencement ceremony was marked with elation and a whole lot of emotion. After receiving their degrees, many of the 132 graduates opted to say a few words (and shed a few tears) at the mic as they walked off stage.

In what has become a time-honored tradition at the campus, the new graduates had a chance to address their peers, families and the rest of the campus community to give thanks, express excitement or in the case of the class of 2011, unleash the waterworks of joy at this great achievement.

An emotional Jonathan Hartline, who received a bachelor of science degree in information sciences and technology, credited scholarship donors with making his education possible, and thanked all those who have helped him succeed, including the janitorial staff.

Ryan Roby thanked his father for donating one of his kidneys and giving him “a second chance at life” after receiving his bachelor of science degree in business.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” Brittney Mason said as she tearfully recounted the challenges she faced while earning her bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences.

Keynote Speaker Todd Carmichael reminisced on his own college graduation as he encouraged the graduates to take control of their own futures and paint their own paths. “Your future is a blank white canvas,” the CEO and co-founder of La Colombe Torrefaction said. “Mix your paint colors. Don’t restrict yourself to what’s expected of you.

Carmichael has traveled the world, visiting nearly half the world’s countries, in search of not just adventure, but ways to responsibly and sustainably gather the planet’s best coffee. A passionate crusader for social and ecological causes, he has a decade-long history of undertaking self-supported treks into challenging environments. He’s crossed large parts of the Sahara on foot and was the first American to solo trek across Antarctica from the coast to the South Pole. The Antarctic trek also earned Carmichael the world speed record for crossing the continent by foot—39 days, seven hours and 49 minutes.

Before ushering the new graduates into a new world of opportunity and hope, Carmichael had an important message. “Success doesn’t happen overnight.”

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