192 Graduate Students Earn Master’s Degrees at Stetson

Stetson professor Rajni Shankar-Brown and two graduating students

Stetson University conferred master’s degrees on 192 graduate students on Friday night, May 12, as President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., urged them to find their voice, speak out for what is right and strive for inclusiveness.

Graduate students in processional
Graduate students walk in the Processional to Lee Chapel on Friday evening to receive their master’s degrees from Stetson University.

The graduates, friends and families filled Lee Chapel inside Elizabeth Hall as degrees were awarded in five fields — Education Specialist, Master of Education, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy.

“My charge to you today is to let these moments give you a richer voice, a voice that speaks out for what is right, a voice that reflects the understanding of the human experience, a voice that recognizes the significance that lies within each of us,” Libby said in her charge to the graduating class. “This is how we change ourselves, our community and our world.”

Stetson professor Rajni Shankar-Brown and two graduating students
Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., center, associate professor and the Jessie Ball duPont chair of social justice education, poses with a few graduate students Friday evening and their decorated mortar boards.

Libby said Stetson has a tradition of graduates giving the addresses at Commencement, and two graduate students were selected for the honor.

David Mueller, who earned his Executive M.B.A. on Friday night, pursued the degree after becoming a successful businessman, a commercial pilot and police officer. But receiving his E.M.B.A. at Stetson, he said, was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

David Mueller

He urged fellow graduates to pursue their passion with perseverance, while staying true to Stetson’s values of service to others.

“The core strategy is based around the concept of grit,” said Mueller, who owns and operates the largest chain of AT&T retail locations in upstate New York, with $20 million in annual sales. “Simply put, find what grabs you emotionally, mindfully leaning into that cause over a sustained time frame, and doing so with innovation and a socially benevolent entrepreneurial vigor.”

Benjamin Wyatt Carter

Benjamin Wyatt Carter earned a master’s degree in educational leadership, and now is considering a doctorate degree and a move into an administrative position. He teaches advanced placement and international baccalaureate English at DeLand High School, his alma mater.

He credited Stetson’s graduate program in education and the program’s faculty with instilling in him the importance of working with “human capital – and there’s nothing more precious than that,” he said.

“My classmates are some of the brightest educational minds I have ever seen,” he said. “Never have I met a group of people more dedicated to making changes that will impact our children for generations to come. For those of you in the audience who are not in education, just know that the future of education is in capable hands.

“More importantly, we’re coming out of this educational leadership program prepared to be change agents inside of our schools and our communities,” he said.

Luis Prats, a double Hatter and chair of the Stetson Board of Trustees, told the graduates that Stetson would continue to play an important role in their lives.

“Remember that you may be graduating from Stetson, but you are not leaving it behind,” he said. “You’re joining a community of alumni that stretches around the globe.”


2017 Commencement Ceremony Survey

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