Winter Graduates Urged to Have Pluck, Passion, and Compassion

Dec 19, 2013

by Cary McMullen | Publications Editor

Have pluck, passion, and compassion to pursue your path in life, urged publisher Andrew Corty in his message to graduates of Florida Southern College at its winter commencement convocation on Dec.14.

Corty, president and publisher of Florida Trend, the statewide magazine that is widely read by 250,000 business executives, government officials, and civic trend-setters, was the guest speaker at the convocation, which drew an overflow crowd to Branscomb Auditorium.

Corty pointed out to the graduates their good fortune, noting that only 40 percent of American citizens have college degrees and that many of the world’s citizens live in subsistence conditions. He told the graduates they should adopt personal attributes that will enable them to take advantage of their privileges.

“Be confident, and seize the ring. Shyness doesn’t help. Wondering if you’re good enough doesn’t help. … People in positions of power admire pluck,” he said. “With luck, pluck, and passion, there’s no doubt you will be successful. And have compassion. Kindness and grace do pay off in the end.”

The college granted degrees to 189 graduates, including 136 bachelor’s degrees and 53 master’s degrees. Of the undergraduates, 43 graduated with honors, including 18 who graduated summa cum laude.

The Senior Speaker, representing the senior class, was Juliana Cardona Mejia, a summa cum laude graduate in political science from Medellin, Colombia, whose impressive accomplishments included authoring an oral history of the armed conflict in her native country. She also has participated in Model United Nations and Model Senate and volunteered with numerous organizations locally and internationally. Cardona told the convocation she was thankful that Florida Southern had helped her discover “what makes me come alive” and dedicated her speech to others.

“It is up to us to make a better world, and it starts now. I dedicate this to you, our families, and the sacrifices you made for our education. I dedicate this to our mentors, who had the patience to guide us. And I dedicate this to the accomplishments we will achieve,” she said.

FSC President Anne Kerr awarded the President’s Scholar medal to Matthew C. Buck of Mount Carmel, Ill., who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in accounting. Dr. Kerr noted Buck’s record of honors and achievements, including membership in the honor societies Beta Alpha Psi and Omicron Delta Kappa and his volunteer service to the charitable organization Give Kids the World. Buck also was a member of the Florida Southern College men’s tennis team.

The medal honors a graduate whose academic standing is in the top 1 percent, who exemplifies the values of the College, and who has a demonstrated commitment to scholarship, student leadership and service.