Acclaimed educator urges Ole Miss grads to savor

OXFORD – It is important to be inspired, and to inspire others with your success because “after today you are a part of the history of this prestigious university,” Freeman A. Hrabowski III told University of Mississippi graduates Saturday morning in the Grove.
“It was my mom, a maid of a wealthy family, who inspired me to dream of possibilities,” said Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and frequently lauded as one of the nation’s most successful college presidents and a pioneer in minority education. “Through books, she was transformed, and she made it her goal to inspire me and always remind me to push myself and be pushed by others to become the best we can be.
“Becoming the best ‘you’ began once you enrolled as a freshman at this wonderful institution. You should take time and reflect on who pushed you to this moment. Reflect on who made a difference in your life.
“Think about how you’ve grown and changed, and who contributed most to your development because years from now, you will want to remember this story and tell somebody how you feel at this moment.”
This university’s 158th commencement included 2,430 spring candidates for degrees, along with 847 August candidates.
Neither the 57-degree chill nor the threat of rain could dampen the excitement of several thousand graduates and family members gathered to observe the speeches and academic pageantry.
One grandmother, wrapped in a red-and-blue Ole Miss blanket, said she wouldn’t miss today’s festivities for the world. Pat Mertz of Metairie, La., traveled through yesterday’s thunderstorms to watch her grandson, Cameron Himel, graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Himel, a native of Madison, is the son of Eddie and Judy Himel, who joined Mertz in the Grove.
Chancellor Dan Jones described the day as “one to be enjoyed and remembered by all of us.”
Jones added that moments like this are “meant to be shared with loved ones who have encouraged and supported you through the years.”
Following the general ceremony, the College of Liberal Arts and the Oxford campus’ eight schools held separate ceremonies to present baccalaureate, master’s, doctor of pharmacy and law diplomas. The Meek School of Journalism and New Media, the university’s newest school, celebrated its first commencement in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, with Dan Rather as speaker.

University of Mississippi