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NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun

Friday, May 26, 2017

NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun NSF Director Tells Marymount Grads Their Learning Has Just Begun
 
Life’s journey is not a straight line.

That was the reminder Dr. France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, gave 650 Marymount University degree recipients at the school’s undergraduate commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

“Some of you will graduate today knowing exactly where the next stop is in your life’s journey,” the astrophysicist said. “Maybe you even have a J-O-B,” she added, spelling out the word and asking for a show of hands.

Córdova, who dreamed about the cosmos as a young girl but graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, had no idea what she would do next.

“Whichever category you fall into, know that today is only the beginning of your real learning experience,” she said. “That’s why they call it ‘commencement.’”

Inspired by astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, she applied to graduate school, earning a Ph.D. in physics and eventually becoming NASA’s chief scientist. Córdova is also president emerita of Purdue University and chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy, among other distinguished academic postings and work at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“The path I took to get there was not the usual one, but there is not a ‘usual path,’” she said. “You discover so many valuable things along the way, and every single thing you learn you take with you.”

She urged graduates to be guided by their curiosity, and not their fears.

“You’ll embark on a fascinating journey to some unexpected places,” she said. “So learn from those unpredictable detours, stay focused on the ultimate goal, which is, after all, knowing yourself and what you’re good at.”

Córdova received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Marymount.

On May 20, Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, the former Hungarian ambassador to the United States, was the commencement speaker for graduate degree recipients at DAR Constitution Hall, where 347 master’s degree candidates and 43 doctoral degree candidates received their diplomas. The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony was held May 19 at the Rose Benté Lee Center on the school’s main campus.


Photo captions
Photo 1
Dr. France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, addressed 650 degree candidates and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Marymount University’s Undergraduate Commencement on Sunday, May 21 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Photo 2
Marymount University conferred 650 bachelor’s degrees on Sunday afternoon in commencement ceremonies at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Photo 3
Marymount University held its Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on May 19 at Rose Benté Lee Center, Verizon Sports Arena on its main campus.

Photo 4
Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank issues the charge to graduates during commencement ceremonies at DAR Constitution Hall on May 20.

Photo 5
Marymount University conferred 347 master’s degrees at DAR Constitution Hall on May 20.
 
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