Addressing the 247 graduates at the Monterey Institute’s May 21 commencement ceremony, President Sunder Ramaswamy spoke of the road ahead: “Like any proud parent, we have high expectations for you, but only because we know the great things you are capable of accomplishing.” The president talked about the different backgrounds of students hailing from places like “Belarus and Brazil, India and the Ivory Coast, Malta and Mexico, Pakistan and Paraguay, China and Russia” and the common goal that they each have of making a difference in the world through their chosen profession. He reminded the graduates of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words that “to leave the world a better place is to have succeeded,” assuring them that all of those gathered to celebrate their achievement -- students, faculty, staff, family and friends – were confident they would succeed.
The featured commencement speaker was Aaron S. Williams, director of the Peace Corps, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. Williams is the fourth director in the Peace Corps’ history to have served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, having served as a Volunteer from 1967 to 1970, in the Dominican Republic. Twice honored with the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service, Williams was introduced at the ceremony by Congressman Sam Farr, a Monterey Institute alumnus and former Peace Corps volunteer.
One of the many links between the Monterey Institute and the Peace Corps is the Peace Corps Masters International (PCMI) program, which allows students to combine earning a master’s degree with two years of Peace Corps service. With 16 PCMI participants in four of the Institute’s 11 degree programs currently, the Monterey Institute ranks fourth in the nation for the number of students participating in a PCMI program at the school.
The procession included the flags of each of the 26 countries represented in the graduating class: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, China, El Salvador, India, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Togo and the United States.
View the 2011 spring