The annual Brown School Recognition Ceremony for graduates, May 18, marked two milestones: the School’s 10,000th graduate, and the first Brown School graduation ceremony for Mary M. McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School.
The 340 master’s degree candidates and seven doctoral candidates were each given a “10,000 Changemakers” button, which they wore for the ceremony at the Washington University Field House.
“I could not be more proud to know that we have supported 10,000 changemakers,” Dean McKay said during her closing remarks. “You are well-prepared with the knowledge and skills to change this world.”
Dean McKay succeeded Dean Edward F. Lawlor, who concluded his deanship on June 30, 2016.
She told the graduates that while they may be distressed by current events, they should not turn away, but become engaged.
“Ask yourself: Am I doing enough to make use of the privileged platforms that I will stand on?” she said.
She urged graduates to make a difference in their new workplaces.
“As you get that inevitable orientation: ‘Here’s the way things are done around here’ – I want you to honor that, but look for opportunities to create new solutions,” she said. “Some of those systems need a little disruption.”
Earlier in the ceremony, the graduates heard from Jason Green, AB ’03, a Washington University graduate who worked for four years in the White House as special assistant and associate counsel to President Barack Obama. He then co-founded SkillSmart, a technology company that helps organizations and industries find the right employees.
“I want America to reach its promise, and to achieve that greatness it needs people like you—people who have put the well-being of others at the center of their work,” he told the graduates.
“The question is not: What do you want to be when you grow up? The question is: What do you want to do, what kind of person do you want to be, and what sort of change will you bring?”
Green echoed Dean McKay’s exhortation to graduates to make a difference in the workplace.
“Selfless people with the greater good in their heart and innovative ideas in their head must lead,” he said. “We don’t always need another report; we need people who can turn that report into action.”
He recalled the words of his grandmother, who worked with patients as a hospital volunteer: “Doers do.”
“You have the responsibility to create something more perfect for others,” Green said. “There’s much more to do. Your critical skills are necessary. In a world of questionable ethics, we must be led by the principled.”
Green added that the Brown graduates and others like them gave him hope for the future. It was a sentiment shared by Dean McKay.
“It is our privilege to send you forth to be changemakers,” she concluded. “You will not let us down.”
Recognition Ceremony Honors
As part of the ceremony, selected student marshals, carrying their program banners, led the graduates of their respective degree programs into the Field House. These students were nominated for commitment to their scholarship, passion in their practica and contributions to the school community.
MSW Marshal: James Petersen
MPH Marshal: ShaCoria Winston
MSW/MPH Dual-Degree Marshal: April Houston
MSP Marshal: Ivy Huang
Awards of excellence for faculty and staff were also announced, honoring Vanessa Fabbre, Angela Recktenwald, Karishma Furtado, Alisha Wood, Barbara Levin and Joseph Steensma.