We invite you to listen to messages from Dean Gregory Anderson, alumni association president Dr. Germaine Edwards, BA '85, MEd '88, PhD '03, undergraduate student speaker Stacy DiCandilo, BSEd '20, graduate student speaker Michelle Benns-Cook, BA '15, MEd '20, and alumni speaker Irene Eizen, BS '70, MEd '72, EdD '95.
Dean Gregory Anderson
American novelist James Lane Allen once wrote that, “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” I can think of no better nor timely quote in reference to this year’s College of Education graduates.
Class of 2020, we honor and celebrate you for your perseverance, your grit and dedication. On behalf of all of the faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college, I wish you all a heartfelt congratulations on your academic achievements.
As the college begins our next 100 years, we thank you for your commitment to learning during this unprecedented moment in our history.
As I deliver this message from my home, I also want to thank and recognize your family and loved ones for supporting you throughout your time at Temple.
Whether you have been part of the College of Education community for two years, four years, six years or even more. Whether you’ve earned a bachelor’s, master’s or a doctoral degree. Whether you’re pursuing a career as a high school educator or a counseling psychologist. What connects you all is that you are now Temple University College of Education alumni. You are part of a worldwide network of thousands and thousands of Owls.
It is with special pride that I share that Temple has selected our friend and fellow College of Education graduate, Donovan Forrest, as the university’s student Commencement speaker. When we are able to safely gather and celebrate our students’ achievements at the university-wide Commencement, I look forward to hearing his formal remarks in person. In the meantime, however, you can all enjoy listening to Donovan during Temple Made Day on May 7.
I look forward to welcoming you back to campus as Temple Made alumni in the near future. Until then, please be well, stay safe and stay home.
Congratulations, Class of 2020!
Germaine Edwards, BA '85, MEd '88, PhD '03
Greetings Dean Anderson, honored guests, esteemed faculty, administration, proud parents and members of the graduating Class of 2020.
As the College of Education Alumni Association president, I thank you for allowing me to share this space with you.
And on behalf of the more than 55,000 alumni that came before you, I am honored to congratulate and welcome you as new members!
Oh, to be an Owl in 2020—the year associated with perfect vision.
Owls are renowned for their vision—their ability to see their way through the darkness. During these challenging times, it seems dark. But you, the graduating Class of 2020, will see your way through, and here are just three reasons why.
- One: Perseverance conquers! Through your perseverance, you are educators, change agents, leaders and innovators. You were Temple Made for such a time as this! Your talents are needed now more than ever. Your Temple education has prepared you for a bright future. One in which you will continue the tradition of innovation in education.
- Two: You have created an incredible foundation for yourself here. The relationships you’ve nurtured here at Temple, your family are all powerful connections you must maintain to fortify your future success.
- Three: There is strength in numbers and you are Temple Strong! You are now alumni. For 100 years, our College of Education alumni have been beacons of hope at home and throughout the world. That network will be willing to support you as you face the challenges and develop the opportunities of a career in education.
So as you venture forth, stay connected with the Alumni Association along the way. Please visit our web page to learn how.
Your alumni community is proud to cheer you on as you make contributions of excellence.
Stay safe! Stay Temple Strong! And remember perseverance conquers! Welcome and cheers!
Stacy DiCandilo, BSEd '20
Good Morning College of Education graduates, faculty, staff, family and friends.
My name is Stacy DiCandilo and I am thrilled to be part of the Class of 2020.
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate my fellow classmates on achieving this wonderful accomplishment. Please take pride in all of the hard work, dedication and drive it has taken to get to this point. Today, we celebrate ourselves, celebrate each other, and celebrate the future.
Speaking of celebrating, this past year, the College of Education has been celebrating their 100th anniversary as a Teachers College. Celebrating such a significant achievement shows the determination and dedication the college has given to create a wealth of remarkable teachers. Today, we get the opportunity to join the community of educators that have graduated and grown from Temple University and begin to embark on a new journey. We should be incredibly proud.
I bring up the 100th anniversary, because it feels right that the class of 2020 is able to celebrate this momentous occasion during our graduation. As a group of future educators and professionals that are driven, gifted, and passionate, I believe that our class exemplifies what the College of Education has pushed their students to be for the past 100 years.
The number 100 is known to represent independence, self-determination, and a keenness to exploring new ideas. The number 100 is also known to represent self-sufficiency and an infinite amount of potential.
The class of 2020 is filled with students that are self-motivated, incredibly creative and have a ridiculous amount of potential to change the world. As we are about to begin a new chapter of life post-graduation, the possibilities of how we will positively impact society are endless. We are a community of future professionals that are excited to explore the new and unknown, and will change so many lives as we do so.
Our class is choked full of leaders. Many of our graduating classmates have been leaders within the Temple community in programs such as Temple Student Government, Greek life, non-profit organizations and groups within the college. We are a class that has thrived in the leadership positions we have been awarded and we should take pride in the legacy we are leaving.
Not only that, we should take pride in leadership skills we have learned throughout our courses in the College of Education. Through classes that gave us real-life opportunities, we have had the chance to experience how to be a leader within classrooms and beyond. Having experience in different kinds of classrooms and communities with all different kinds of people, we’ve learned how to be flexible, how to be creative and we have been prepared to lead our own classes and programs.
Finally, I would like to share the most relevant symbolism behind the number 100. The number 100 is connected to accomplishing goals and different achievements. If you keep seeing the number 100, it normally means that soon, a large, life-changing goal will be finished. And with the completion of that goal, you should celebrate it!
To the class of 2020, you are resilient, you are brilliant and you are the movers-and-shakers that our world needs. Take what you have learned from your experiences within Temple University and the College of Education and let them propel you into greatness. And remember to always give 100% in everything you do. Thank you and once again, congratulations! Now, let’s go celebrate!
Michelle Benns-Cook, BA '15, MEd '20
Good morning Dean Anderson, Dr. Eizen, faculty, administration, alumni, friends, family and congratulations to the class of 2020!
As we celebrate our accomplishments today, I would like to acknowledge the individuals who have helped us arrive at this moment. Thank you to our family, friends and faculty. We could not have done this without you!
As a non-traditional student, I would like to take this time to share my story. I obtained both my undergraduate and graduate degrees while working full-time at Temple, raising two children and being a wife. Thank you to my husband, Sakeen, for your sacrifice and thank you to Chelsea and Michael for letting Mommy be great! While finishing my bachelor’s degree in 2014, I started working in the College of Education. Fast forward to May 2020, and now I have completed my master’s degree in AOD. All of those late nights, weekends spent writing papers, and hours spent studying are finally over! This accomplishment did not come without its challenges. There were times during my academic career that I felt overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities at work and home, however; I always felt encouraged, supported and nurtured by others. In particular, the College of Education faculty were helpful and always made themselves available to me.
An example of this unconditional support occurred in 2017 when my son was diagnosed with autism. It was extremely difficult for me and my family, as we had no prior knowledge of autism or its wide spectrum. It is natural to fear the unknown or unexplainable. I was worried, confused and very unsure of my next move.
I said to myself, “Michelle, you are in a college full of researchers, teachers, and individuals who are knowledgeable about different approaches to education. Perhaps they could be of help to you.”
As I reached out to faculty, I was overwhelmed by their willingness to help. The faculty in the School Psychology program offered insight on the benefits of early intervention and assessments, and how to obtain an accurate diagnosis. I consulted faculty who had done research on autism to discuss the language of the diagnosis reports. I learned the benefits of ABA therapy. Department chairs lent their time to discuss and help me become more informed about the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process. People made sure that I understood School District Policy. I was educated on my rights as a parent. They worked to clarify the language in the diagnostic documents. Through faculty’s advice and knowledge, I found my voice in the process and was confidently equipped to advocate for my son.
I recently moved to a new neighborhood and into a new school district. Once again, the faculty took a personal interest in advising me when I asked them about schools that would support my son with the necessary services. They acted as mentors and offered me advice, which supported me and my family. For these reasons, and so much more, I am eternally grateful!
As the College of Education celebrates its 100th year anniversary, it is important that we recognize the service of our faculty and staff. The College of Education is a family and a community. Our faculty and staff work tirelessly to ensure the success of all students. As graduates, we are extremely fortunate to have had faculty who will schedule time to discuss their expertise and share their own stories to help their students both personally and professionally.
As graduates, we must begin to consider our futures and the contributions we will make in the lives of students and others that we will educate. Our goal should be that same beacon of light to others as we begin or continue careers in education, teaching, training, researching, or facilitating learning.
We must remember that we represent the Temple brand, taking pride in our College of Education degrees! We are Temple Made! We must always remember what the College of Education did for us and how we should pay that forward!
Thank you, again, Dean Anderson, Dr. Eizen, to the College of Education’s faculty and staff for your contributions! Again, Congratulations Class of 2020! We did it!
Irene Eizen, BS '70, MEd '72, EdD '95
Good Morning, Welcome Temple University College of Education graduates. My name is Irene Etkowicz Eizen and I am a three-time graduate from the College of Education. It is a great honor and privilege to be your Temple Made Day speaker and your commencement keynote speaker during the 100th year anniversary of the College of Education. I look forward to delivering my formal remarks when we are able to safely gather and celebrate your achievements at the university-wide commencement.
You are graduating into professions including, but not limited to, early childhood education, middle grades education, secondary education, counseling psychology, special education, and human development and community engagement. These endeavors have a common element. They offer you an opportunity to make a difference.
In his 2011 commencement speech at The University of Pennsylvania, Denzel Washington told students, “Don’t aspire to make a living; aspire to make a difference.” I share Washington’s thought with you today because as you enter your professional lives, your educational opportunities here at Temple provide you a platform to launch, through which you can make a difference.
The trajectory that Temple set for me allowed me to make a difference throughout my career as a teacher of elementary, middle and high school students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students here at Temple.
Temple University was founded by Russell Conwell in 1884. He used his charismatic gifts to make a difference in the lives of working men and women who sought to have a college education, then a rare opportunity. Conwell’s philanthropy was based on his belief that the pathway to personal success was education. He used his resources philanthropically to provide a pathway of success for the Night Owls by enabling these working people who had jobs during the day to obtain their education at night.
We can make a difference in grand ways as Conwell did. We can make a difference every day in smaller ways, but perhaps even more important. Maya Angelou in speaking about success said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” The professions you have chosen – love doing each one, have delight in what you are doing, be kind, compassionate, patient. Be enthusiastic about your profession and as you interact with your audience. Make good choices and decisions. Always believe that you can do better. Be a lifelong learner. As Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Graduates, you will surely make a difference in your professions and to those you serve.
All of you have made a difference during your undergraduate and graduate programs. Your impact is evident through the work that you have done in your courses, the relationships you have formed with your peers and professors, and the volunteer work you have done during your years at Temple.
Now let’s talk about the numbers! Most of you will begin your careers as classroom teachers but many will be educational leaders, counselors, and specialists in helping individuals with special needs. Some of you, like me, will have a number of jobs during your careers but all of these jobs have their most important element in common. We are all helping others to reach their potential just as Temple University has helped you and me reach this moment. Over the course of the career of an elementary school teacher, he or she will touch the lives of over a thousand students. Think of the opportunities you will have to make a difference in the lives of these students. They are the future of our society. They will include future doctors, lawyers, scientists, counselors and teachers, among a multitude of professions that will be invented in the decades to come. You, the class of 2020, are uniquely poised to help your future students and people with whom you interact in your chosen profession, achieve their potential. You will make a difference in their lives. I am here today as both a product and disciple of what it means to make a difference. Now it is your turn.
Congratulations, class of 2020!
College of Education Faculty & Staff
College of Education Future Commencement Plans
When we are able to safely gather and celebrate your achievements, we hope 2020 graduates will attend the university-wide commencement at which we will hear from our friend and fellow College of Education graduate, Donovan Forrest, EDU '20, the university’s student commencement speaker. The university will share more details on the university-wide commencement in the coming months.
While the College of Education will not be hosting an in-person ceremony this spring, the class of 2020 is invited to attend the College of Education's May 2021 commencement, where you will have the opportunity to walk alongside your classmates as we officially celebrate the Centennial of the college and honor both our 2020 and 2021 graduates.