Manhattan College’s 2023 Graduate Commencement Ceremony celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of more than 250 graduate students on Wednesday, May 17 at Draddy Gymnasium. The gymnasium was filled with family and friends who watched as students received their well-earned diplomas.
One of the highlights of the evening was the Commencement address delivered by Daniel Nigro, who was New York City fire commissioner during the Bill de Blasio mayoral administration and led a workforce of more than 17,000 uniformed and civilian members.
“With the degrees you have earned, you will undoubtedly be leaders,” Nigro told the graduates. “Lead kindly. Lead generously. Set an example and do your part in making our world a little better each day.”
Nigro discussed his experiences on 9/11 and what it was like to serve as a high-ranking department official in the aftermath of the attack.
“When things are the bleakest, the strength to continue is greatly enhanced by the relationships we develop over our lifetimes,” he said.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the valedictorian address delivered by Oscar Leon ’21, ’22 (M.S.), a student who returned to Manhattan nearly 20 years after initially leaving in 1999.
“We must never give up on our dreams,” he said. “Let us continue to pursue our passions with determination and resolve. We should always be willing to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zones. It is only by taking risks and pushing ourselves that we can achieve greatness. Let these values guide us as we pursue our goals and strive to make a positive impact on ourselves and on those around us.”
Leon discussed the importance of a series of personal qualities including resilience, discipline, humility and consistency, which he identified as key ingredients for achieving success both in and out of an academic setting.
In his congratulatory remarks, Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC, president of Manhattan College, spoke about how the College provides graduates “with a critical lens to focus on many important ways to conduct your professional lives” and the importance of leading on issues such as sustainability and a dedication to the Lasallian value of faith.
“May you maintain the values that Manhattan College has helped you to develop through your lives,” said Brother Daniel as part of a benediction he offered for the graduating class. “And may peace, hope and happiness follow you in everything you do.”