An icon of the civil rights movement inspired Wagner’s class of 2013 at commencement on May 24.
Myrlie Evers-Williams lost her husband, Medgar Evers, to an assassin’s bullet in Jackson, Mississippi, 50 years ago. Yet she soldiered on, continuing her education at Pomona College, running for office, becoming a public servant in Los Angeles, serving as chair of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998, and starting the Medgar Evers Institute to promote education, training, and economic development.
Recalling her own story and the hatred she had to overcome, she encouraged the graduates to be positive, seek the good, and work toward a more just society. “Believe in yourself. Believe in your goals. Realize that there will be setbacks, but let those setbacks only serve as fuel to move you forward,” she said.
Also proudly crossing the Wagner stage with the 419 undergraduate and 147 master’s degree recipients was former Staten Island Borough President Ralph Lamberti, who received an honorary degree. Lamberti is chair of Wagner’s DaVinci Society.
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