Academics and Research / News

Nearly 1,000 students receive graduate degrees

Whistles, waves, claps and an occasional “Way to go, Mom” accompanied nearly 1,000 master’s and doctoral students who participated in DU’s 2011 graduate Commencement June 3 at Magness Arena.

During the ceremony, keynote speaker Judith Miscik (MA international studies ’82) received an honorary doctorate of public service from Chancellor Robert Coombe. In conferring the honor, Coombe said Miscik had distinguished herself and obtained eminence in her field.

Miscik began her career in international relations working for the CIA. She was responsible for all of the CIA’s intelligence analysts, the production of all source analysis and determining the content of the President’s daily intelligence briefing. She also was director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council and served as global head of sovereign risk at Lehman Brothers. She currently is president and vice chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc.

Miscik said when she graduated from college and received her first assignment with the CIA, she realized the magnitude of the career she had chosen.

“Walking into the Oval Office that first time, and later when I was responsible for helping evacuate the Pentagon because two airplanes had just hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and another was headed toward Washington, I realized the enormity and responsibility of protecting our country.”

As a result, Miscik encouraged graduates to volunteer and “stay involved.”

“I encourage you to take your knowledge to contribute to the greater good,” she said. “It’s your turn now.”

Miscik said that when she was a little girl, she used to like to swing. 

“If you went high enough you could see over the swing set,” she said. Once, after swinging particularly high, she jumped off to look up and revel in how high she had gone. She forgot that the swing didn’t stop, and it came crashing down into her face.

“Don’t be afraid of the unknown, keep taking risks. The swing is going to smack you in the face sometimes, so just go with it.”

Her advice: “Be comfortable in your own skin. Trying to fit in rarely leads to happiness. Try to make sure you hold on to what makes you unique. In 2031, 20 years from now, I hope you will feel as proud of your accomplishments as you do today.”

She ended with this quote from Henry Ford:  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.”

Tracy Houston (MA liberal studies ’96) welcomed the candidates to the DU Alumni Association and told them they now join more than 100,000 students who live and work around the world. She encouraged graduates to stay connected to each other and to DU.

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