Grads urged to make a difference/AU awards degrees

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Grads urged to make a difference/AU awards degrees

Ashland Times Gazette – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown encouraged a packed house at Ashland University’s Jack Miller Stadium to “reach for the American dream” by relying on one another to make a positive impact locally and globally.

On Saturday, the Mansfield native served as the commencement speaker at AU’s spring graduation ceremony. He spoke to a crowd of nearly 700 graduates. Also in attendance were families and friends of students, AU faculty members, university officials and alumni totaling about 5,000.

The senator urged each graduate to use his or her strengths and training — whether in education, communication, pastoral care or other areas — to improve the world while stressing this notion: “A life of public service can be challenging, it can be rewarding. But regardless of whether we agree or disagree, we all in this country — partisanship and ideology aside — reach for the American dream.”

A diverse crowd of visitors came to support graduates from as close as Ashland to as far away as China. Those in attendance filled both home and away bleachers. A large group of people also filled the concourse surrounding the east end zone to watch loved ones receive their degrees.

At the beginning of his address, Brown asked grads to thank their parents and ask themselves if they had at least one AU faculty member whose dedication they’d like to recognize. He asked the graduates sitting in the middle sections of the home stands to rise and clap if a member of the faculty had touched their lives. His second request drew a rousing round of applause from the graduates.

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