On Saturday, May 21, 2022, the University of New England awarded more than 1,600 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, pharmacy, health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, human services, education, and management during its Commencement exercises at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
“It feels so good to be back in person, together again as one big Nor’easter family,” UNE President James D. Herbert, Ph.D., told the graduates at the first University-wide commencement ceremony since 2019. “This ceremony marks the culmination of your hard work. It offers occasion for you to reflect on how far you have come and to look ahead to all the amazing things you will do.”
Herbert encouraged the graduates to continue to speak their minds and not shy away from the hard conversations around issues that too often divide us. This sentiment was echoed by Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., a prominent cultural critic and social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business, who delivered the Commencement address. Both Haidt and David Evans Shaw, founder of IDEXX and visiting lecturer at UNE, received honorary degrees.
“UNE’s culture of innovation is dependent on free expression and inquiry, and engaging in robust, sometimes controversial, discourse is vital to ensuring a diverse and inclusive classroom environment, whereby students are free to share their ideas in a respectful and productive manner,” Herbert said. “Both Haidt and Shaw embody these important qualities in every aspect of their work.”
“When you fail at something, don’t kick yourself,” Haidt told the gathering. “Don’t say ‘I’m terrible.’ Say, ‘This is what I need to get stronger. What can I learn from this? What did I do wrong?’ If you’re not failing at things, that means you’re not trying hard enough. You’re not taking risks.”