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President Clinton Addresses UCF Graduates

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By Valerie Moses

President Bill Clinton made UCF history today as the second United States president to speak at a commencement ceremony.

On Thursday afternoon, President Clinton addressed graduates from the College of Health and Public Affairs and the College of Medicine's Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.

President Clinton has spoken publicly in the past about the successes of Central Florida and UCF, and he discussed the region's high level of cooperation between the public and private sectors during his speech, which marked his third visit to UCF.

"The successes of UCF are all a testimony to the fact that no matter how smart we are, how righteous we are, how close to the truth we are, we all do better when we work together," President Clinton said.

His address emphasized the importance of helping others, accepting each other's differences and working together. He also highlighted I.D.E.A.S., an organization founded by two UCF students to inspire and promote sustainability by providing other students and community members with opportunities to get involved in environmental and service-learning projects.

"My advice is, do what makes you happy," said President Clinton. "Most people are happiest doing what they're best at. Most people are happiest doing well and doing good, doing something for someone else. I hope you will do well. I hope you will do good. I hope you will have a good time doing it."

President Clinton also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by President John C. Hitt. The degree recognizes his service as the 42nd President of the United States, as well as his work with the William J. Clinton Foundation both nationally and internationally.

More than 3,100 students graduated during Thursday's two ceremonies. Nearly 4,700 other students are expected to graduate during ceremonies on Friday and Saturday.

Among Thursday's graduates is Leslie Salas, who received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing.

"UCF really does stand for opportunity," Salas said. "UCF not only helped me in learning my craft, but it also gave me real world experience and taught me how to live as a writer and an artist. The professors in the MFA program were truly amazing."

More information about commencement can be found at

View photos by Orlando Sentinel photographer Joe Burbank at

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
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