Each ceremony also had its own student speaker. Daniel Kenney, who earned a Bachelor of Science in health care coordination, was chosen as the speaker for the health programs ceremony. 

Kenney shared with the crowd that his path to the podium actually started about 12 years ago when he was nearly killed in a car accident.

The crash left him in a coma with a severe traumatic brain injury. His outlook was grim and he said that most people in that situation never recover.

“I had to relearn how to walk, talk and swallow. I used to choke on water; it was not fun,” he told the attendees.

He spent a lot of time in the hospital, and it was that life-altering experience that sparked his interest in health care. 

“I was inspired by the various nurses and therapists who worked tirelessly with me during my hospitalization. It was there and then I decided I wanted to work in the medical field to give back a little of what I was given,” he said.

Kenney put in a lot of hard work and long hours to earn his degree but he also credited the resources of ASU’s Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services and the flexibility and support of Edson College instructors for helping him get to this point.

Kenney concluded his speech by sharing this advice with his fellow graduates: “As we embark into our professions, let us take core concepts such as cultural competence, interprofessional collaboration and patient-centered care, and let it spread like wildfire throughout the medical field.”

He was met with a standing ovation from the visibly moved audience and his fellow graduates.

In addition to the in-person ceremonies, each one was also livestreamed. Replays, including Kenney's speechare available on the Edson College YouTube channel.

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation