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T. Denny Sanford Receives Honorary Degree at LIU Post Commencement

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LIU Post honored T. Denny Sanford, a celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist, at its 59th annual Commencement ceremony on May 5, 2017 in the Pratt Recreation Center.

As Chairman and CEO of United National Corporation, Mr. Sanford is a celebrated entrepreneur with a 50-year legacy of founding and leading successful companies in the fields of manufacturing, distribution, banking, and venture capital. As the visionary leader behind the Sanford Education Programs, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, and countless other philanthropic endeavors impacting communities across the country, he is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most generous donors. 

In receiving the honorary Doctor of Business degree, Sanford recalled his own undergraduate commencement in 1958 at the University of Minnesota, saying, “I was the first graduate in my family, and I couldn’t have been prouder, but I’m just as proud standing here today.”

That pride was shared by Melissa Peet, the valedictorian of the Class of 2017. Peet, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in health science, implored her classmates to continue to take risks as they departed the LIU Post campus as graduates.         

“Travel the world,” Peet said. “Get the second degree you don’t know about getting yet, only because it’s not what most people do. Go after your dream job. Do not stop until you achieve all your goals. Most important, be happy. Whatever you choose to do in life, make sure you enjoy it.” 

Peet, who was a four-year starter on the LIU Post softball team, also stressed the importance of drawing on lessons learned over the past four years.

“I urge each and every one of you to not let our time here become a distant memory,” Peet said. “It is important that we use every experience that has helped mold us into who we are as we enter the ‘real world.’” 

Peet and salutatorian Kelly Carey were among 960 students receiving bachelor’s degrees at the ceremony (including 56 receiving dual bachelor-master degrees). LIU Post also awarded 1095 master’s degrees, 43 doctoral degrees, and 174 advanced certificates at an afternoon ceremony, which featured remarks from the Honorable Steve Israel, who joined the University in January as Chairman of the Global Institute following his retirement from Congress.

“I refuse to be, and I know you refuse to be, the first generation of Americans in history to say, ‘Too hard, too expensive, too complicated.’ My plea to you on this important day in your lives is this: Choose to do the hard things. Organize and measure the best of your ability. Accept the challenge; don’t postpone the challenge, embrace the challenge. Be willing to fail in defense of the future.”

Posted 06/05/2017

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