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Widener Awards Diplomas to More Than 400 at Graduate Commencement Ceremony


Alarico Barabino, who was selected to address the Widener University Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday as the Graduate Student Leader, reminded the class of 2017 that they have been trained with “amazing skills and abilities, and we have the ethical and moral obligation to serve humanity.”

Barabino, a resident of Media, Pa. graduated with his doctorate in clinical psychology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Originally from Italy, Barabino reflected upon his move to the United States nearly ten years ago to learn English, and the importance of making connections.

“If we are willing and committed to make a connection, there will be a way – a way to go beyond a superficial connection to one that is emotional and purposeful,” Barabino said. “The best gift we can give to another is to listen and make that person feel valued; even when what we hear is at first difficult to fathom or understand.”

Barabino joined more than 400 of his classmates who received master’s and doctoral degrees from seven Widener schools and colleges on Memorial Field.  

The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Kimberlyn Leary, an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor of health policy and management at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health where she is the “Enabling Change” program director. Leary is also senior advisor to the CEO at the National Math and Science Initiative. As a Robert Wood Johnson health policy fellow, she formerly served as an advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls, and as an advisor to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Health Division in the Public Health and Medicare branches.

According to Leary, graduate school is “the place, where you begin to gradually discover what it means to have impact, by diving deep, and by gradually experiencing yourself as professional. The most important dimension of being a professional is that others know that they can count on you. In completing a dissertation or a capstone project, your professionalism was on display. You committed yourself to an idea, to a plan, and then you delivered. Savor this moment deeply.” grad2

Leary explained that you can’t always plan certain trajectories, and offered four tips on how to capitalize on opportunities: “Protect your relationships. Expand the circle of those from whom you learn. Accept the mantle of leadership. And manage your time, prioritizing the things you love.”

“May the years ahead be ones in which you work hard, play hard, and love even harder! Above all else, may you create lives that allow you to be richly and audaciously surprised,” she said.

Widener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman also addressed the class of 2017, reflecting on how they have already changed lives using their education and leadership skills to address some of the world’s most vexing problems.

“You have already had a tremendous impact through your research and work with the many clinics and centers that serve our communities,” Wollman said. “The world needs leaders with the knowledge, strength, and compassion you honed here at Widener.”

With that she encouraged the graduates to continue to do more. “Challenge yourself. Ask the hard questions and continue showing the same grit and determination you’ve already demonstrated. There’s always more to do, more to learn, more to achieve.”

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,