ALBANY — Members of Darton College’s largest graduating class were officially handed their degrees Tuesday, with commencement speaker Dawn Hobby urging the newly minted grads to “startle yourselves every now and then, and don’t let someone else define your dreams.”
The class, with 425 graduates, set a new standard at Darton, and that could not please college president Peter Sireno more.
“I am proud of each and every one of you and what you have accomplished,” Sireno said as he opened the commencement. “This is an important milestone in your lives, and it is only the beginning. I think you will find that the educational foundation you earned as Darton graduates will serve you well for the rest of your lives.”
As the long, black-gowned line of grads moved into the Darton gym, all were pleased and filled with a sense of accomplishment.
“I feel pretty good right now,” nursing student David Lambert of Sandersville said. “I’m really glad to have all this behind me, and I am looking forward to the future.”
Husband and wife Beth and Brian Prince of Albany walked together.
“It’s quite a sense of accomplishment for both of us,” Brian Prince, a nursing graduate, said.
“We’ll both remember this day for the rest of our lives,” Beth Prince added.
Jodie Kretzer of Albany said graduation was a major step in his life.
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel like I have completed a mission in my life, and I am ready for the next chapter.”
Hobby, a news anchor at a local television station, told the graduates that when she looked out at the crowd, she saw “the faces of success.”
“What are your dreams?” she asked. “Your dreams are manifestations of your passion, and passion is the source of our finest moments. Be confident, and your chances of success will skyrocket.
“You will be challenged in life, and tenacity will help you achieve your goals. Don’t let others define those goals.”
Hobby then pointed out the numerous former Cooper Tire and Rubber workers who had to begin anew when the plant closed in 2009.
“You, the former Cooper employees who graduate tonight, inspire us,” Hobby said. “You represent the fortitude, resilience and determination within us all.
“I wish you all success happiness and a sense of accomplishment.”