Touching on her life as an immigrant and how she adapted to challenges to launch her remarkable career, Joanna Hoffman delivered the keynote address as Dominican celebrated Commencement 2019 on May 18 by conferring degrees on 457 students, including 315 undergraduates and 142 graduates.
Hoffman, one of the original members of both the Apple Computer Macintosh team and the NeXT team, received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree.
“One of the things that distinguish you as Dominican students is how much you give of yourself to the community. Keep it up! Engagement will continue to enrich your life and those around you, no matter where you land,” Hoffman told Dominican’s Class of 2019.
“My high school headmaster told us `This high school has only two rules. Respect yourself. Respect others.’ Ultimately, that is what has remained constant in my life. Sometimes I fall short. But it is a goal to reach for. Respect yourself in spirit, mind and body so you can put the learning skills, the flexibility skills and self-knowledge skills you have acquired here to a life well lived for years to come. Respect others so you find a community to support you and fulfill you no matter what the future throws your way.”
Dominican President Mary Marcy praised Hoffman for being a pioneer in the computer industry, noting that she had a brilliant mind and a strong background in the liberal arts.
“At Dominican, we are committed to this model of education. We talk about the Dominican Experience, which underscores the importance of integrating and understanding education as it is experienced. While she is not an alumna of Dominican, today’s commencement speaker embodies the Dominican Experience,” President Marcy said. “Joanna models the values of Dominican in her everyday life. She is deeply interested in how technology influences our lives. In recent years, she has engaged with a number of educational and environmental non-profits. She is committed to community, to equity and to sustainability for generations to come."
Gabriella Tassano ’19, a double major in Business Administration and Graphic Design who designed the Class Shield for the Class of 2022, delivered the undergraduate student address. She polled her Dominican friends on Facebook to share their remembrances of their Dominican experiences and ultimately leaned on Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken to pass on her message.
“And though that lone traveler in the poem also made it, I had an advantage they did not; I was not alone. And neither are you,” Gabriella said. “So on your next journey in life, whatever the path you may choose, no matter how frequently it has been traveled, just be on the path to awesome. You have air in your lungs, a heart beating in your chest, you were made to do great things. Whatever path you choose, it will be the right one, and the rest of us Penguins at Dominican have your back, I can promise you that.”
Geoffrey Meyethof, a master’s student in the Pankaj Kapahi Lab at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, delivered the graduate student address. His research on how diet effects aging has included studying fruit flies.
“I think it’s remarkable that by that by looking at simple model organisms, like the fruit fly, we can glean information about some of the foundational mechanisms of our own life and begin to answer some of our most important questions,” says Geoff, who completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I would like to point out one thing: if all of life really is that interconnected, and we really do have that much in common with a fruit fly, just imagine how much we have in common with one another, and how insignificant all of our perceived differences really are. For me, the greatest joy in biology is discovery: discovering our shared past and common humanity.”
Business Administration major Jake Quast ‘19, a standout member of Dominican’s golf team for four years who spent his junior semester abroad studying at the University of Oxford, was named the Outstanding Student from the undergraduate Class of 2019. Psychology major Samantha Easley ’19, who also had a double minor in Leadership Studies and Business, was the recipient of the Veritas Cup, given annually to the undergraduate most considered “a friend of the class.” Samantha has been team captain of Dominican’s Student Ambassadors the past two years.
In addition, Whitney Myers was named the outstanding graduate student in the Barowsky School of Business, Catharine Clark-Sayles was named outstanding graduate student in the School of Liberal Arts and Education, and Geoff Meyerhof was named the outstanding graduate student in the School of Health and Natural Sciences.
Communication and Media Studies professor Bradley Van Alstyne was named Teacher of the Year and Molly Rogers, an integrative coach in the LINES Ballet BFA in Dance program, was announced as the Adjunct Teacher of the Year.
Dominican’s Penguin Radio provided a live broadcast and live stream of the ceremonies via YouTube. A podcast of Commencement 2019 ceremonies was posted on Penguin Radio at 5 p.m. following the event.