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Governor Northam Delivers Message of Service and Responsibility to Graduates

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam addressed the 2018 graduating class at Richard Bland College of William & Mary, offering an inspiring message that empowered students to use their power and abilities to fix the problems they see in the world and to embrace the responsibility to make the world around them better. Nearly 250 students earned their Associate’s Degree at the 55th Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, May 13 in Statesman Hall. Over 50 Honor students graduated with a 3.5 or above GPA.

Governor Northam became the first Governor to serve as Richard Bland’s Commencement speaker since Governor Mills E. Godwin delivered the address in 1969. “Your education here at Richard Bland has prepared you uniquely for the responsibility to serve others. Because you have seen that service lived daily in the help and support you have received at this College, you’ll give back to others when you leave here. I hope you’ll find someone who helped you get to today’s graduation, and tell them, very simply, thank you and I love you.” said Northam.

The Governor was presented with an Honorary degree from Richard Bland College of William & Mary by President Debbie L. Sydow and William & Mary Rector Todd A. Stottlemyer.

President Debbie L. Sydow commended graduates for making the campus an inclusive experience for everyone. “The rich diversity of the Richard Bland community is one of the College’s greatest strengths. The men and women who make up the student body bring with them vastly different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. These differences enrich all of our lives, allowing us to understand and appreciate a little better the magnificent complexity of our modern world. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your educational journey. The accomplishments we’re celebrating today are only the beginning of a string of brilliant achievements that will bring pride to you and your alma mater in years to come.”

Robert Jones of Petersburg presented remarks on behalf of the Class of 2018. Jones encouraged his classmates to use their Richard Bland College education to overcome the obstacles and fears that exist in everyday life. “With inspiring faculty and a dedicated support team who all saw something exceptional in me that I didn’t see in myself, I was able to overcome the fears of being a first-generation college student to finish my RBC academic career with a near perfect GPA,” said Jones.

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