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By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

GSEHD graduates encouraged to bring compassion, authenticity to careers

Sage Russell | Senior Photo Editor
Graduate School of Education and Human Development Commencement speaker Doctor Richmond Hill.

Speakers urged Graduate School of Education and Human Development masters and doctoral students to approach their future careers with kindness and authenticity.

Richmond Hill, the provost of the Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus and a GSEHD alum, pushed graduates in the keynote speech not to waste “precious time” comparing themselves to others in order to fit society’s expectations. He said graduates should cherish their individuality and use what they learned at GSEHD to create a brighter, more equitable and compassionate world.

Hill also said kindness has the power to bridge divides and heal wounds in a world that can often feel uncertain. He said if graduates allow kindness and authenticity to guide their futures, he has no doubt they will leave an “indelible” mark on the world.

“As graduates of GSEHD, you are equipped with the knowledge and skills and navigational capital to make a difference in this world, but remember nothing you have learned that is not coupled with kindness is useless,” Hill said.

GSEHD Dean Michael Feuer urged graduates to use their moral compass and voice to point out when they see injustice.

“Call it out,” Feuer said. “Demand the evidence, fight the ignorance with facts. Your moral compass should be programmed to steer you from the greatest threat to our society: the complicity of silence.”

Alumni Association President Max Gocala-Nguyen, who graduated from GSEHD in 2016, said new graduates have a “unique opportunity” to create a brighter world. He pushed graduates to use their new degrees to continue making meaningful and impactful contributions to society.

“The world can be a big unknowing place but you hold the keys to continue using your kindness to create light in darkness,” Gocala-Nguyen.

Leyla Hamidova, the student speaker and a candidate for a Master in Education and Human Development, said GW has furthered her ability to use her voice, fight for the life she wants to live and be proud of her accomplishments. She said graduates have experienced the “transformative” power of education and have seen how supportive teachers can make a lasting impact, pushing graduates to use their education to make the world the place they want to see.

“In the words of Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Hamidova said. “Let us graduates be advocates for change. Let us advocate for progress.”

Sage Russell | Senior Photo Editor
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About the Contributor
Hannah Marr, News Editor
Hannah Marr, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communication and history from New York, New York, leads the Administration and Finance beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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