ASU President Crow to fall 2022 grads: Make your life matter

Friend hugging recent ASU graduate

As thousands of Arizona State University graduates celebrated with balloons and fireworks at their degree ceremonies on Monday, they were urged to remain positive in the face of negativity and divisiveness.

ASU President Michael Crow gave that message at the graduate commencement at Desert Financial Arena on Monday morning and at the undergraduate ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium in the afternoon.

“The rate and scale of positive change in all things is up,” he said, citing the new Marriage Equality Act, scientific breakthroughs in fusion energy and the global push to preserve Ukrainian democracy in the face of Russian aggression.

“We are leaving the Stone Age of our species,” he said, thanks to advancements in technology and the fight for social justice.

“… Because of the opening of our hearts and minds to other people and our willing acceptance of people different than us, the outcome of the world — if we stay focused and you all work hard — is going to be something we’ve never seen before. It will be unbelievable social progress and unbelievable economic progress.

“Here’s my message: Start realizing that all that negative energy you feel out there is you being manipulated by somebody else, usually for a profit and usually for some reason that isn’t wholesome,” he said.

“Start realizing that the world is making progress and is moving forward in better ways and that you have this unique opportunity to take your one life and your new empowerment by your graduation from this institution and to make it matter.”

RELATED: Meet some of ASU's impressive fall 2022 grads 

Fred DuVal, chairman-elect of the Arizona Board of Regents, also addressed both commencement ceremonies, telling the graduates that they persevered as the “class of COVID.”

“COVID tested your resolve, tested your adaptability and forced you to examine your choices and your responsibilities for others,” he said.

DuVal said that ASU gave them a healthy community during the pandemic.

“You acquired knowledge, learned how to discern facts. You engaged in respectful debate. You built trust in data, trust in science and trust in one another,” he said.

“As you take your place in our state and nation as educated citizens and as future community leaders, your skills in community-building will be tested and essential. We need you.”

Overall, more than 11,000 ASU students graduated this fall, including nearly 6,000 ASU Online students. About two-thirds of the total were undergraduates and the rest were graduates.

More than 2,000 students earned engineering degrees, representing a 36% increase from fall 2021. Boosting the number of engineers is critical to national security, helping to contribute to the New Economy Initiative and adding to the future workforce driven by the CHIPS and Science Act, which will distribute $52 billion to accelerate U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.

Top photo: Mary Babaya gives a congratulatory hug to her friend Florence Njoyi, who received her doctorate in behavioral health at ASU's Graduate Commencement on Monday, Dec. 12, at Desert Financial Arena on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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