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KINGSTON â Dr. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J. urged the University of Rhode Island undergraduate class of 2011 graduating from the Kingston campus last Sunday to stand, to stand tall in their honor and dignity and to stand for change.
On the crisp cool Sunday afternoon on the University quadrangle in the center of the campus, 3,283 students, including 2,003 Rhode Islanders obtaining their bachelorâs degrees gathered at URIâs 125th undergraduate commencement ceremony with family, friends, and professors to receive their diplomas and walk into the real world.
As students listened to Booker, mayor of Newark since 2006 he tried to ignite the same inspiration in them as he did with the people of New Jerseyâs largest city. With a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and bold actions, from increasing security in public housing to building new playgrounds in Newark, it did not take much for the New Jersey politician, named to the 2011 TIME 100 list of the worldâs most influential people to inspire the young future leaders.
âStand up for all who came before you and all who will follow. This world has a way to marginalize you, to sanitize you and this world wants to make you regular. Everyone is born original and dies copies. Set your standards without looking to the people to the right and left of you. Become people who donât accept what was but constantly raise that bar,â Booker said to the thousands of students before him.
As the URI graduates embark on their future after spending four years learning and applying skills for real world careers, Booker urged students to be the difference the world needs.
âWe all sit and watch the news and get so upset at what weâre seeing in the world, but we donât get up and do something and infuse the world with our essence. Thereâs nothing more important than what happens inside of you. We should constantly see within the truth of who we are. Believe in your truth,â Booker said.
In his spell bounding speech, Booker, who was awarded an honorary degree from URI Sunday told the students they should stand out and apart from others and find what is in them.
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