‘Fare forward, voyagers’: Speaker encourages CHSS and School of Earth & Environment grads to create their own stories

‘Fare forward, voyagers’: Speaker encourages CHSS and School of Earth & Environment grads to create their own stories


Commencement speaker and 2007 Rowan University alumna Amanda Ashworth urged members of the graduating class of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the School of Earth & Environment to stay committed to writing the stories of their own lives.

“You can only be a success if you fight to keep that story alive,” Ashworth, who earned English and Writing Arts degrees from Rowan a decade ago, told the graduates during the ceremony on Tuesday, May 9.

In a talk that quoted T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de Saint-Exupery and mentioned Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ashworth told the graduates they have the power, in whatever way they chose, to positively influence the world.

“It is the time to fare forward, voyagers…to use the gift of your education and your talents to make this world a better place…to dare to do the good that only you can do…which you all will do quite differently, despite the odds against you,” said Ashworth, who works in the publishing field.

“It is your job to keep your imagination alive, your morals intact, your childlike faith pure and the reason for your experience ever steady,” Ashworth said, adding that the class could “be the generation that pursues unity” and is “done with hopelessness.”

In what was a glorious, sunny day on the University Green, Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand told graduates their humanities educations prepared them for the ever-evolving workforce. The humanities, he said, teach the “whole person,” preparing them for today’s complex society, Houshmand said.

Led by grand marshal Stanley Yeldell, a Law & Justice Studies professor for more than 40 years, administrators, faculty members and graduates marched onto the University Green in front of Bunce Hall, the birthplace of the University.

Robert C. Poznek, secretary of Rowan’s Board of Trustees, encouraged the class to exhibit excitement, energy, interest and confidence as they venture out into their careers.

“Education and skills do matter, make no mistake,” Poznek said. “But so, too, do attitude and drive. Attitude is everything. I encourage you to be the person willing to go the extra mile and stand out from the crowd. Show that in your interviews. Show that in your lives. Take charge.”

The ceremony included a few firsts. CHSS Dean Nawal Ammar presided over her first Commencement exercise as dean, while 52 students were the first to graduate from the School of Earth and Environment, led by Founding Dean Kenneth Lacovara.