Order of Exercises
College of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning
For your convenience, speaker scripts are listed below the order of exercises.
Daniel A. Wubah, Ph.D., President Presiding
MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY WIND ENSEMBLE
“Pomp and Circumstance”, Sir Edward Elgar
Joseph Cernuto, D.M.A., Conductor
GAIL E. GASPARICH, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
*THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
LED BY CHRISTINA FLORES ’23
Words by Francis Scott Key
Arranged by John Philip Sousa
INTRODUCTION OF PLATFORM GUESTS
GREETINGS FROM FACULTY
ROBYN DAVIS, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, History, President-Elect, APSCUF-MU
MOMENT OF REFLECTION
TOMMY WAYNE HENLEY III
Ed.D., Educational Leadership
DANIEL A. WUBAH, Ph.D.
RICHARD D. CLARK, Ph.D.
Professor of Meteorology Emeritus, Millersville University
PRESENTATION OF DOCTORAL DEGREES CANDIDATES
JAMES DELLE, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning
CONFERRING OF DOCTORAL DEGREES
PRESENTATION OF MASTER’S DEGREE CANDIDATES
CONFERRING OF MASTER’S DEGREES
WELCOME FROM THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
MS. JOYCE KING ‘83
President, Millersville University Alumni Association
*THE ALMA MATER
LED BY ELISE EGGLESTON ‘23
Words by Esther E. Lenhardt, Class of 1910 and Sanders P. McComsey, Class of 1917
Music arranged by Melzer R. Porter
Millersville University Wind Ensemble
MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY WIND ENSEMBLE
The Lord of Greenwich
THE AUDIENCE WILL REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL AFTER THE SINGING OF THE ALMA MATER AND AFTER ALL GRADUATES HAVE RECESSED.
MACE BEARER: Len Litowitz, Ed.D.
GONFALON BEARERS: Tiffany Wright, Ed.D.
GRADUATE COMMENCEMENT MARSHALS: Stacey Irwin, Ph.D.; Karen Rice, Ph.D.; Jason Baker, Ph.D.; Oliver Dreon, Ph.D.
READERS: Lowery Woodall III, Ph.D.
*Audience will stand, participation is voluntary.
GREETINGS FROM FACULTY - ROBYN DAVIS, Ph.D.
Good evening. I’m Robyn Lily Davis – professor of colonial and revolutionary American history at MU and the vice president of the campus chapter of our faculty union, APSCUF. I’m here this evening as the Millersville faculty representative to welcome our platform party, our distinguished guests, especially our graduates, and even more importantly, their loved ones. Hello. It’s truly my privilege to say a few words to you tonight on behalf of the faculty as we mark our graduates’ important induction into a select group of Americans, that mere 13% of the population who hold a graduate degree.
So the first thing I want to say is congratulations! You did it! And we are so pleased for and so proud of you – we know more than most what a sometimes-challenging road it is to complete advanced academic and professional work. And here you are at the end of that road, having done it, and done it well, ready to take your place in the bright future you’re building by your own efforts and to make our communities better and more vibrant through your many contributions. So in the midst of the pomp and hoopla of this commencement, I invite you to take a moment to enjoy the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that come from having done the job. It wasn’t always easy, I’m sure at times it didn’t even seem rational! – but you persevered and here you are, about to be recognized for conspicuous achievement.
But the next thing I want to say is thank you! Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in the faculty to educate and train you. Most of your professors are at Millersville because we value teaching, we consider it a high, indeed a noble profession, and enjoying the opportunity to work with you – in the classroom, on the stage, in the laboratory, out in the field – animates our creative energies, inspires us to achieve, makes our professional lives meaningful, and gives us personal fulfillment. Being your teachers and your mentors so often is the best part of our work. Thank you for letting us have that.
And that’s the final thing I want to say, to our graduates’ guests – it has been a joy to work with your loved ones! They’ve been incredible – they’ve inspired us with their imagination, their persistence, and their performances. We send them off with some regret, because frankly we hate to see them go, and with more pride and pleasure, because we stand ready to admire and applaud them as they carve out the lives of meaning and purpose that you – and we – wish for them and have helped to train them for.
A final, final word to the graduates – go get ‘em.
Moment of Reflection - Tommy Wayne Henley III
My name is Tommy Henley, and I am honored to be in front of you today.
First, congratulations to the graduates, faculty, families, and other support systems that have led us here today. I would like to thank my sisters, Samantha and Tiffany, and my partner, Gabriel, for their support. I want to thank my mother, Pamela, father, Tommy, and sister, Makayla, for their ongoing support.
We are in a time in society where social unrest, injustice, and moral considerations are at an all-time high. I would like to take a moment of silence to remember the souls of individuals who could not make it to this ceremony today due to societal circumstances.
When I think of who I am as a person, I cannot help but consider the circumstances in my life that have brought me here. Further, I cannot help but to consider the moments, people, and opportunities that make all of us who we are. On special days like today, I am reminded of the African proverb “Ubuntu.” This proverb means, “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours”. When considering this proverb, I had a moment of reflection to consider who I am and why I am here.
First, I am from the Southside of Chicago. I am someone who came up in extreme poverty. I am someone who attended a low performing public school system. I am someone who is the son of addicts. I am someone who is grounded in Latino culture. I am also someone who demonstrates grit, tenacity, and persistence on a daily basis. I am someone who is the first in my family to graduate high school and go to college. I refuse for my future to be defined by my childhood circumstance.
I am indeed all of those things, but I am so much more. I am a district-level administrator who has supported 100% of Black and Brown scholars in having college access. I have ten years of experience in Urban education, making a difference. And, as of today, I will be a Doctor.
Michael Jordan once said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”. You see, like many of you, we could have let our circumstances, society, or even uncontrollable factors dictate our future. Instead, with the degrees we will confer after today, we have the power and privilege to demonstrate who we are does not define our potential. Our determination and excellence is demonstrated daily because it is who we are, and societal circumstance will not be a factor in determining how we will change the world.
And, although I faced ruthless and unfavorable circumstances, I am in front of you today and will soon be conferred a doctoral degree. I am who I am because of who we are. I feel the proud privilege to innovate the world of education for students who grew up in the same circumstance I have.
This passion and drive are fueled by a quote from Roberto Clemente, "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world, and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth." So, celebrate this accomplishment today, but know we have work ahead. Now that we have the tools, education, and attributes, let’s make today the day we collectively join together and make a difference on this Earth. Thank you!
SALUTATION - DANIEL A. WUBAH, Ph.D.
Good evening. Welcome to our graduating students, faculty, staff, family members, and friends. We have arrived at the part of the program commonly described as the president’s salutation. This is not the commencement speech, because that will come soon. At that point some of you may wonder:
- How much of these remarks will I remember tomorrow morning?
- Why does this speech seem longer than the line at Chic fil A?
Don’t worry, we are here to celebrate you.
Before we start this celebration, let’s recognize those who have made it possible for you to get to this point in your lives.
First, let’s thank your families and your friends for the role they played in getting you here. Family and friends, kindly rise, or wave to be recognized. Let’s give them and those who are watching online a round of applause (Pause).
We are fortunate to have loyal alumni, many of whom are proud to have their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews attending their alma mater. A special thank you to all our legacy families and their graduates here today.
Second, I want to thank our faculty members who walked beside our graduates on their educational journey. They have guided and assisted you in the acquisition of a holistic education at Millersville. Faculty, kindly stand up to be recognized (Pause).
As I mentioned earlier, we are here to celebrate you today and you may be wondering why? Well, it is because you are receiving your degree from Millersville University after overcoming challenges that no one could have imagined when you enrolled at this university.
I recognize that you may feel some apprehension about what comes next in your life. Even if you already employed, you may be asking yourself how you are going to use your newly acquired credential to advance in your career? And that is okay because most people feel the same way during commencement. Rest assured that with your degree from this university, you have the skill set and competency to succeed at wherever you land.
As you leave the confines of the Ville, you are entering a world of transformation, especially brought about by technology. I want to address one of the current seismic shifts that is occurring at a rapid pace, and hence requires our attention. I am talking about artificial intelligence (AI).
So, what is AI? Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, describes AI as “the science of making machines smart.” In this simple definition lies the power. For example, I can assume that majority of us at this ceremony have cell phones. Well, each time your cell phone has suggested a word to you, that is AI in action. So, it’s not a matter of whether or even when AI will impact our lives but how it would affect us, as it continues to evolve and becomes more and more incorporated into the tools that influence our personal and professional lives.
Now I would like to share a few thoughts on how AI is most likely going to impact you, our graduating students. This technology has transformed the way we live, work, and interact with each other. It has created numerous opportunities for innovation and growth in various industries, from healthcare through finance to education. As graduating students, you are entering a world where AI is becoming an integral part of the workforce, and it is essential that you understand the impact that it will have on your future careers. Let me share a few thoughts:
Firstly, AI is changing the job market. As machines become smarter and more efficient, some jobs will be automated, and new ones will be created. It is predicted that by 2030, up to 30% of jobs will be automated. However, this also means that there will be new jobs that require skills that complement AI and may not exist today. These skills include critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence, which cannot be replicated by machines. That is where the skills you have acquired at Millersville University will come into play.
Secondly, AI is transforming the education industry. With AI, educators can create personalized learning experiences that cater to the individual needs of each student. AI can analyze data on a student's academic progress and adapt the learning experience accordingly. This personalized approach ensures that students receive the attention they need to excel in their studies.
Thirdly, AI is enhancing research and development. With AI, researchers can analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that might be difficult to detect using traditional research methods. This approach can accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation in various fields, leading to new breakthroughs and opportunities.
These are just a few examples of the way this technology is going to impact our lives. In summary, AI has already started to transform the world in which we live, and it will continue to do so in the future. Microsoft has recently pledged $10 billion to Open AI, a generative AI company that is responsible for Chat GPT, signifying that there are no signs of this technology slowing down. However, AI is not the solution for every problem we face, and just because AI can do something doesn’t mean it should.
Understanding the impact that AI will have on your future careers is essential. It is an exciting time to be entering the workforce, and this technology will present you with new opportunities and challenges. As you go forth into the world, I urge you to continue learning and adapting to both the challenges and opportunities it presents.
You are creating new memories this evening. And with so much to treasure it is likely that the words of this speech will soon fade from your memory. I’ll ask only that you hold on to these 3 suggestions.
First, life is made up of challenges and opportunities. Never forget that it is not the temporary setbacks that will define you, but rather how you react when they happen.
Second, everyone has God-given talents. Use your talents for a cause that is truly worthy, that might change the world, one life at a time.
And finally, remember that selfless significance is the best way to be successful. Be humble and be grateful for all that you have, because even on your worst day, someone will prefer to be you.
Your faculty have equipped you with the skills and competencies that you need to succeed in the next stage of your professional lives. It is now your responsibility to use them.
Your alma mater will all always be here for you. Come back to visit us as often as possible.
Congratulations on your graduation, and I wish you all the all the best in your future endeavors.
Commencement Address - RICHARD D. CLARK, Ph.D.
Thank you, President Wubah, for this opportunity to offer the commencement address. Welcome, members of the platform party, faculty and staff, families, friends, spouses, and partners, and especially graduates. It is an honor to stand before you on this momentous occasion as you celebrate the culmination of your hard work and dedication.
I am the son of an upholsterer and a homemaker, first-generation college student, textile chemist, mathematician, serious amateur astronomer, professor of meteorology, now emeritus, recent president of the American Meteorological Society, and everyday seeker offering my view of what it means to be human in a technological world.
In his recent book, On the Origin of Time, Thomas Hertog tells the story of Hannah Arendt, one of the most influential political theorists of the 20th century, who in 1963 during the explosion of interest in the space program, was asked by the editors of “Great Ideas Today” whether man’s conquest of space had increased or diminished his stature. The seemingly obvious answer was, of course, that it had increased the stature of humankind. Arendt, however, did not subscribe to this view. Instead, she reflected on how science and technology was transforming what it means to be human. Central to the concept of humanism is the idea of freedom; the freedom to act and be meaningful is what enables us to be human. Arendt went on to ponder whether human freedom is threatened when we increasingly acquire the know how to redesign and control the world from our physical environment to the nature of intelligence.”
The benefits of technology on humankind are undeniable. From splicing genes to observing our universe back to 200,000 years after its origin, to the promise of nuclear fusion, technology is the vehicle that we use to go where no humans have gone before. But 60 years after Arendt’s essay, the question of what it means to be human in an increasingly technologically driven world has become a principal concern confronting your generation.
The solid education that you received at Millersville integrated with practical life experience has prepared you for the next step in your personal journey, one that will sweep you into a complex world where the pace of change has never been faster, emergent technologies more disruptive, and where shifts in paradigm can create or lay waste to personal identity or property - physical, virtual, or intellectual, in a Wall-Street minute.
Consider that it has been only 16 years since Apple introduced the world to the iPhone 2G as the first mobile computing and communication device (the IBM Simon introduced in 1994 was actually the first smartphone). Since then, as Moore’s law would have it, computational progress has become significantly faster and more efficient over time, and devices smaller. We have seen the development of autonomous machines, self-aware computers, and virtual assistants. Generative AI such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT® or Google’s Bard® is revolutionizing the production and presentation of information and delivering it in ways that are understandable to humans without sophisticated knowledge of the underlying process or its trustworthiness, and it is altering the way we work, live, and create.
Robots in medicine, logistics, manufacturing, and mobile devices can replicate or substitute for human actions. Humanoid robots, while mostly still prototype and pricey, are already beginning to take on the dangerous, repetitive, or boring tasks or assist humans in any number of the areas from hospitality to education to healthcare.
Self-reinforced knowledge – Machine Learning, enabled Google’s AlphaZero, given only four hours to learn the rules of chess, to beat the world champion computer chess program in a 100-game match up (78 wins/22 draws/0 losses) – and that was six years ago. Machine learning is helping to produce more accurate and timely weather forecasts, allowing for fewer false alarms and greater response time – saving lives. Distributed Internet systems are managing a deluge of data. Algorithms are being developed to analyze “Big Data” to reveal patterns, trends, and connections, especially those relating to human behavior and interactions, and this is attracting investment. Data has become a valued commodity.
It is easy to feel threatened by obsolescence or being relegated to irrelevancy in the face of machines that can do things faster, more accurately, and with greater efficiency than we ever could or will. This feeling is exacerbated by sensationalized headlines, generally slanting negative, that run the gamut from AI/ML taking away jobs to destroying humanity. For instance, “The World Economic Forum (WEF) cites that automation will supplant 85 million jobs by 2025,” which sounds foreboding until your read on about the 97 million jobs that will be created over the same period in a tech-driven economy.
What does that mean for you? It means that it may be necessary to occasionally enhance your skills sets to keep pace with technological changes over the course of your active career. You wouldn’t be the first generation to have to do this. When faced with massive layoffs in the 1970s, steel workers were forced to re-invent themselves across a spectrum of new jobs from arc welders to avionics technicians. The difference is that unlike previous transformations spawned by the emergence of technological upheavals that replaced mechanical or physical systems, smart technologies are now and will continue to intrude on uniquely human attributes requiring us to reconsider what it really means to be human and what our value proposition is in the human-technology interaction.
Whether we like it or not, knowledge-based jobs, jobs that can be learned from a set of rules or are repetitive by nature and can be logically programmed to recognize patterns or protocols, can and will be automated. Fortunately, you are already part of the tech-driven information age that began in the mid-20th century and coupled with the breadth and quality of your education, should a disruptive technology threaten your well-being, you are better prepared to adapt, realign, and take advantage of the opportunity, and not be swallowed by it.
Your individual prowess and acumen will not derive from your ability to overpower, overwhelm, or outsmart smart technology. It is here and if it can fill a niche, it will, and it will do so faster, more efficiently and more consistently than a human, and with ever-increasing sophistication, it will emulate many attributes that were heretofore considered uniquely human.
Not to worry. Remember detective Del Spooner in “I Robot” when he said, “Humans beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not robots, they are just machines.” There still exists a large gap between automaton behavior and the deeper, more complex, and nuanced behavior of humans. Inspiration, innovation, ingenuity, originality, adaptability, emotional intelligence, empathy, ethics, morals, and creativity are some of the attributes that humans can bring to human-machine interactions that, perhaps, machines will never be able to attain beyond a degree of emulation. We are learning how to thrive in an environment that works with technology, seeking mutual advantage and emergent opportunity to enhance our purpose, motivation, and autonomy.
As humans, we are able to feel and understand the emotions of others. We can sense when someone is happy, sad, angry, or scared, and we can respond in ways that are appropriate to the situation. This is a crucial aspect of being human, as it allows us to form connections with others, build relationships, and create communities. No matter how sophisticated an AI system may be, it can never truly feel what it means to be human, and it will always be limited in its ability to relate to us on an emotional level. Even though AI can be programmed to follow or even generate a set of rules that may emulate trustworthiness, it lacks the ability to understand the moral and ethical implications of its actions. That is what humans do and must continue to do if we are going to shrink the divide between the “haves and have nots.” Human empathy, guided by our moral-ethical compass, must drive the motivation for reducing this divide before technological solutions can be embraced to assist in that endeavor.
Being human means that we are able to experience life in a way that is truly meaningful. We feel joy, happiness, love, and connection in a way that machines simply cannot. Our experiences, both good and bad, shape who we are and how we perceive the world. We are able to find purpose and meaning in our lives, and we are able to connect with others on a deep and personal level. There is an emotional entanglement that humans feel when engaging other humans that cannot be replicated by inanimate objects no matter how human-like they may be or become. “Ex-Machina” and the British “Humans” notwithstanding, only sentient beings can feel intimacy. This is an incredible advantage, and one that should never be taken for granted, especially as generative AI and ever-more-sophisticated, yet-to-be-invented technologies continue to test our value as humans, both as individuals and as a societal collective.
It's not a matter of pitting humans against machines, but rather to show that we need the advantages emergent from human-technology interactions if we are to take on the wicked problems of the world; the serious challenges that are lapping at our doorstep.
AI/ML is particularly useful in science where it has the potential to significantly benefit from the human-technology interaction with AI and smart instruments and sensors producing information ripe for human inquiry and discovery. For instance, humans bring the innovation and ingenuity into the development of AI-enabled intelligent transportation systems that automatically transmit traffic conditions or road weather information to commercial fleets and personal autonomous vehicles for safer and more efficient travel. Nuclear fusion may be the technological hope for our energy future and sustainability of the planet, but it will only be achieved when human qualities of creativity, motivation, determination, and cooperation are combined with insight gleaned from sophisticated technologies and the human mind. Human cooperation across the political landscape and the will to change are necessary if we want to improve the condition for our children. Climate change is the quintessential example of the need for determination, will, and cooperation to tackle the perils of the global warming imperative. If we do not want something in our air or water, then bring the mutual advantages of human ingenuity and technological advances to bear on eliminating it or finding a benign substitute. We already have plenty of good stories to tell, such as the removal of lead in gasoline, sulfur dioxide in coal-fired burners, and CFCs in manufacturing. In each case, human ingenuity, innovation, and the will to act drove the science and technological solutions that brought these problems under control. We can do this for fossil fuels.
Even delineating the intrinsically human endeavor of creating art is being clouded by generative AI. One of the first-ever pieces of art created by an algorithm, Portrait of Edmond Belamy, sold at a Christie’s auction for $432,500. Is the algorithm an artist? Is using a database of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries to create the algorithm any different than you or me creating a portrait based on techniques extracted from the collective consciousness of other artists? If a portrait is an image produced by an intelligence with an aesthetic intent, then perhaps the algorithm is capable of creating indisputable works of art according to Ahmed Elgammal, director of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Rutgers University. But if you define art more broadly as an attempt to say something about the wider world, to express one’s own sensibilities and anxieties and feelings, then AI art must fall short, because no machine can have that urge or emotion — and perhaps never will.”
In closing, my message to you is this. There are opportunities where this convergence of human and technology can and should be applied to the wicked problems facing our planet and its inhabitants. As humans, we must ensure that the underserved, the marginalized, the have-nots are not left behind. Our empathy for humans and other sentient beings will continue to separate us from machines. Embrace technologies but rely on them for the tasks they do best, and do not let them supplant the uniquely human attributes. It is your curiosity, creativity, passion, inspiration, motivation, and drive, and yes, your learning experience here at MU, that will offer the best promise and value that you bring to the future. You have the power. You have the advantage. Go forth. Be human! Thank you, and again, congratulations graduates.