“You are great, and you should feel great about yourself.” Admiral Paul Gaffney gave high praises to the Class of 2014 of the Arnold School of Public Health during the twenty-seventh annual Hooding Ceremony at the Koger Center.
Speaking to the approximate 170 doctoral and master’s degree graduates, Mr. Gaffney said the class had gained a deeper technical skill, as well as the “ability to think critically about your field, able to argue your own point of view.”
Mr. Gaffney, who served 35 years on active duty after graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, spent the last years of his illustrious career of service as president of National Defense University and then was named president of Monmouth University.
He told the graduates they carry a new responsibility to argue their own point of view “because you have elevated yourself to about that only a couple of percent of world population with advanced (post baccalaureate) degrees.”
Calling them “new, credentialed leaders,” Mr. Gaffney said that the graduates have a responsibility to speak out in their chosen field because many issues – from federal health insurance to climate warming claims and nutrition and food choices in public schools – “can be politically polarizing, emotional topics because of their ‘too left’ or ‘too right’ political biases.”
Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of public health leaders “to steer the issues back to the center […] you, new leaders should not avoid these debates […] you are the hope for an informed body of health policies.”
Dean Tom Chandler, of the Arnold School, praised the graduates and their success, which comes at a time of growth and achievement for the school itself.
Read more on the South Carolina website.