Cheers from family, friends, faculty and staff rang through the WVU Coliseum Sunday, May 14 as more than 800 Eberly graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas and mark an end to their undergraduate, graduate or doctoral education.
R. Gregory Dunaway, Dean of Eberly College, kicked off the ceremony with remarks to graduates and guests. He commended graduates for completing a journey of growth, discovery and hard work while earning their degrees during challenging times, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Each of you are bound by the spirit of resilience, resolve and responsibility. These characteristics will serve you well moving forward – our world will continue to face challenges,” he said. “To meet these challenges, we will need individuals with specialized knowledge and the skill and fortitude to apply that knowledge.”
Dunaway highlighted the graduates’ Mountaineer spirit of excellence, perseverance and integrity when facing difficulties. It is this spirit, he said, that will help them change the world.
“Our world demands that it be led by those who are not only highly educated and trained, but those who want to make it a more respectful and just place,” he said. “One that values the diversity of humanity and those who will persevere in the face of adversity.”
Dunaway expressed gratitude to friends, family, faculty, staff and others who supported and encouraged the graduates during their time at WVU. He reminded the new alumni that they will always be a part of the Eberly community, no matter where their journey takes them.
After his remarks, Dunaway joined WVU President E. Gordon Gee and University officials in recognizing Noel Doheny, a WVU alumnus who has worked throughout his career as an executive in medical diagnostics, as an Honorary Doctoral Degree recipient.
Doheny graduated from WVU in 1976 with bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry. Throughout his career, he has introduced novel medical testing devices and products to markets. He served as CEO of Epigenomics, Inc., the first company to develop a blood-based colorectal cancer screening method designed to increase screening participation. He continues to be active in the oncology field through board level participation in start-up companies.
After receiving his honorary degree, Doheny encouraged graduates to take the lead in shaping the future and to never give up on the pursuit of their passion.
“My plea to each of you is to understand and own your passion. Bring it with you
into your future,” he said. “Real leaders embrace and exhibit passion early in
their careers. WVU has prepared you for that role.”
President Gee ended the ceremony with words of encouragement and congratulations. He reminded graduates that their sense purpose will help carry them through challenging times and will help build resilience in the face of adversity.
“Many of you have endured the unique challenges of a pandemic on your journey to graduation, and though life has mostly returned to normal, these challenges took a lasting toll on many students,” he said. “However, you persevered, and I congratulate you for the tremendous resolve you have shown in achieving this milestone.
“Having an overarching sense of purpose for your life beyond graduation may have strengthened your resilience even further. And your sense of purpose will accompany you wherever you go and inspire you past every obstacle.”