CAHSS celebrates 2016 commencement

Reception, ceremony are first following university-wide reorganization in 2015

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) celebrated commencement for graduate students with a June 16 buffet style reception at NSU's Grande Oaks Golf Club in Davie. The reception and June 17 commencement ceremony at NSU marked the first group of CAHSS graduates following a university-wide reorganization of colleges and degree programs in 2015.

CAHSS commencement reception Yang commencement

"It is gratifying to see things come full circle and listen to students' stories and how much they have overcome," said Dean Honggang Yang, Ph.D.

Yang noted that CAHSS programs intersect with many career paths.

"Our graduates can make a difference in so many ways," he said.

Associate Professor Robin Cooper, Chair of the Department of Conflict Resolution Studies, addressed the audience and gave special recognition to Allison Dean Hall, a doctoral candidate who had passed his final dissertation defense but died unexpectedly last spring. Hall, a military veteran, worked as a research assistant with Cooper on a project interviewing veterans with amputations about their experiences, as well as a training they participated in on Second Life, the online virtual world. Hall was awarded his doctorate posthumously.

"Al was a great listener, warm and empathetic, and had an easy sense of humor that quickly put the participants at ease," Cooper said later. "He was great at building trust, so that they felt comfortable freely sharing their experiences and feelings. It was a pleasure to know him and we all miss him."

On June 17, graduates from CAHSS and the College of Psychology attended the commencement ceremony in the Arena at the Don Taft University Center. Activist and author Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, served as the commencement speaker.

Honggang Yang & Arun Gandhi CAHSS commencement

"You have achieved a great deal, but you still have much more to achieve in life," Gandhi said. "You will graduate today from this university, and you're going to be admitted tomorrow into the university of life."

Gandhi spoke about conflict resolution, his youth in apartheid South Africa, and the two years he lived in India with his famous grandfather.

"One of the things that he taught me was that we don't have to accept the bad in society. We have to become the change we wish to see," he said.