Central Graduation: Proud To Be Blue Devils, Courant, May 17

June 10, 2014

HARTFORD — There were plenty of hugs, laughter and tears Saturday morning in downtown Hartford as thousands of family and friends came together for the Central Connecticut State Universityundergraduate commencement ceremony.

Senior class president Matthew Hubbard welcomed his peers, the faculty and all the family members and friends to the ceremony at the XL Center, and congratulated the seniors on all their hard work.

"We've all been asked the question, what are you doing after graduation?" Hubbard said. "But we all find a commonality in that the future is so uncertain to us."Hubbard said, during his college search, he found himself debating whether or not if he should attend Central, but after lengthy talks with his family decided to go there because he saw himself thriving in the campus community.

"We will walk across the stage as graduates and will be ready to make a different in the world. We are proud to be called Blue Devils and product of CCSU," Hubbard said.

He started a CCSU chant with his classmates after his speech, which was followed with loud cheers from graduates and clapping from the audience.

Hubbard graduated with a major in political science and a minor in history.

The commencement speaker, reigning Miss USA and 2010 Central alumna Erin Brady, welcomed the crowd with a laugh and said: "Wow, this is unbelievable; it was only four years ago."

Brady, who graduated from Central with a degree in finance, said she took a risk when she tried out for the Miss Connecticut pageant.

"Greater risk equals greater rewards," Brady said. "In regards to your future, take risks early and often in your career. Whether you succeed or fail, taking risks allows you to be positioned to learn and soak up any and all information."

"I decided to take a chance on something totally outside of my comfort zone," Brady said. "I fought for my own personal struggles of social anxiety and went for it."

Brady said that without risk-taking she wouldn't be where she is today. She advised the graduates to chase their dreams and to never give up.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, who also spoke to the graduates, said, "You can overcome any challenge, even in a tough economy. We need you to help us make a new Connecticut with a vibrant economy."

Malloy thanked the faculty of the university and the families of the graduates for all their efforts and for the support they gave to the students.

University President John Miller said that there are about 2,400 students in the CCSU Class of 2014 and that about 1,400 participated in the commencement ceremony.

"Our students come from 24 states and 18 foreign countries," Miller said, "and this is the accumulation of years of sacrifice."