Quinnipiac University conferred 891 graduate degrees during two ceremonies held Saturday at the TD Bank Sports Center on the York Hill Campus.

During the first ceremony, Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, received an honorary degree and addressed the 525 students who received graduate degrees from the schools of BusinessCommunications and Education.

Leonard Jr., leader of the Connecticut-based chain of farm-fresh food stores, used coffee beans to illustrate how challenges and hardships build character and a richer, fuller life. He said raw beans sunbathed in the Colombian sun make for flavorless coffee, but those same beans exposed to extreme conditions produce something entirely different.

“It’s not until the beans are subjected to 350 degrees for 20 minutes that the true character and flavor of the beans are brought out,” he said. “Leave them in the roaster for another 10 minutes and crank up the temperature to 450 degrees and you have an even richer bean that’s full of flavor. If you ask for a shot of espresso, that’s the bean they use. More heat, more character and flavor. What type of bean do you want to be?”

During the afternoon ceremony, Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital, received an honorary degree and addressed the 366 students who graduated from the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences.

“I once sat where you are now sitting, and I have gone the miles in between,” said Katz. “I have one bit of advice I feel qualified to offer you, and it is this–rage now. Rage while young. Rage while strong. Rage against the standards of care that do not meet your standards wherever or however you encounter them.”

An innovator in the field of health care, Katz holds five patents on inventions related to health promotion. He urged the Quinnipiac graduates to forge their own paths moving forward.

“It is your time, it is your turn, it is your chance, it is your difference to make, it is your road to take and no one else can find it,” he said.

A commencement ceremony for the School of Law will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 10, at the TD Bank Sports Center. Three undergraduate commencement ceremonies will take place at Quinnipiac on Sunday, May 17.

Posted by Chris

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