May 15, 2016
Homeland Security Graduation Day
Author: Bryan Cullen (HSEC Student)
Editor Alexandria Levin
On Sunday, May 15th, students of the 11th graduating class of the San Diego State University Graduate Program in Homeland Security gathered together to receive their diplomas. Much like the program that the students were graduating from, the schedule proceeded like clockwork. Assistant Director Dr. Lance Larson welcomed the friends and family members of the graduates to the bridge of the USS Midway in Downtown San Diego for the ceremony. Following the welcoming was the Pledge of Allegiance, which was conducted by the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets.
Succeeding the Pledge, Dr. Larson introduced the attendees to the Graduate Program in Homeland Security. Family members often inquire about what their students would study in Homeland Security and often they do not understand the academic and professional rigor required of their students, to complete a graduate degree. This allows those family members to finally gain an understanding of what the program entails and what the students were accomplishing during their time here. After the brief primer of what the Homeland Security Program is about, Dr. Larson introduced and welcomed College of Sciences, Associate Dean, Dr. Cathie Atkins.
Following the introduction of Dr. Atkins, the first Keynote speaker came forward to speak to the graduates. Captain Bruce Churchill (Ret.), who was also one of the graduating students of the program, stepped forward to speak to the students regarding the importance of what they are going to be embarking on now that their student career is over. Captain Churchill also imparted historical lessons regarding how the USS Midway served.
Captain Dale Ferranto (Ret.) followed Captain Churchill to speak to the students as the second Keynote Speaker. Captain Ferranto spoke to the students about how they should strive to be the best because being average is the “best for the worst and the worst of the best.” With final words of wisdom imparted, it was the moment that the students and family members had been waiting for; the presentation of the Homeland Security Master’s Diplomas.
Dr. Lance Larson gave the students the option to speak to the crowd after receiving their diploma, which every single student took advantage of. As each student walked forward, Dr. Larson introduced them and their future career path. The graduate then took the microphone and thanked their friends, family, and professors for their positive influence in their success. For the next half-hour of presenting diplomas, there was nonstop applause for the graduating class and their tremendous accomplishments.
Following the presentation of diplomas, the presentation for Special Accomplishments was then announced. These awards included Outstanding Student, Outstanding Military Student, Partner of the Year, Distinguished Graduated, and an International Diplomacy Award.
After every diploma and award was received, Dr. Lance Larson closed the graduation ceremony with kind remarks. Following the ending of the ceremony, the cohort moved to a different location so that they could all have a group photograph together. With kindness and great regard, the USS Midway Museum offered all attendees of the graduation touring access to the vessel. Most of the attendees accepted the offer and then spread about the ship with their families. Like with many graduations, the graduates stood about and made conversation while taking photographs, and shared in an atmosphere of pride, accomplishment, happiness, and gratitude to everyone around them. It was a wonderful event to experience and be a part of.