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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

CCAS graduates asked to take risks, be ready to make mistakes

The students at the first ceremony for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences await their degrees in the Smith Center. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
The students at the first ceremony for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences await their degrees in the Smith Center. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Speakers at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences ceremony on Saturday urged the graduating seniors to take risks in their future endeavors and learn from past mistakes.

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Daniel Ullman awarded economics professor Tara Sinclair for her enthusiasm in teaching and said students say Sinclair taught them to think differently, which he called the “ultimate compliment.”

1. Don’t be good. Do good.

Political science professor Corrine McConnaughy spoke at the ceremony, citing an activity she uses in her classes called Prisoner’s Dilemma, where students can choose to either better their grades at the expense of their classmates’ grades or risk their grade with a chance of bettering everyone’s grade. She encouraged the graduates to break the rules in order to change them into something better, instead of choosing from options presented.

“Being good is just downright limiting. It means making safe choices, ones you know will please other people,” McConnaughy said.

2. College is priceless

The student speaker at the ceremony was Matt Zahn, who majored in economics and political science and was the college’s distinguished scholar. He said he considered himself a “sucker” because he could have gone to the University of Vermont for free and instead chose GW, which is “definitely not free.”

“The true value of a college education is more than the cost,” Zahn said. “It is ultimately determined by you, by what you put in and the impact you make on the lives of others.”

3. Live through trial and error

CCAS Dean Ben Vinson told the graduates at the ceremony to realize that learning is a life-long process and that they should make informed decisions, but live by trial and error.

“Each of you through failure have arrived at your success,” Vinson said.

Vinson used a selfie stick to take a picture with each of the graduates as they crossed the stage. He finished his remarks by telling them to “make history,” the slogan of the University’s $1 billion campaign.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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