While always a joyous occasion, commencement at the Monterey Institute can also be a little bittersweet for faculty and staff who say farewell to incredible students who have made their mark on the Monterey campus for the past two years. But as President Sunder Ramaswamy remarked in his address at the December 8 Winter Commencement, the day also marks the initiation of graduates into the exclusive and very supportive network of Monterey Institute alumni.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate the graduation of 93 students from 12 different countries. Faculty commencement speaker Peter Shaw spoke of the wonders of living a life of learning and being a “quintessential cosmopolitan.” This year the elected student speaker was María Luisa Olivarría from Venezuela. Less than three years after fleeing political violence in her home country, she spoke of finding hope again at the Monterey Institute, where she specialized in conflict resolution, peace-building, and disarmament and nonproliferation issues.
In the end, the Monterey Institute community is united in its joy at commencement when it bids farewell, for now, to a group of people set on dedicating their professional careers to making this world a better place for all. As one of our alumni put it in a social media message to new graduates: “Today marks the beginning of your commitment to being the solution!”