Coach Vermeil Imparts Words of Wisdom to Penn State Brandywine Graduates
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“Today is a precious moment,” Coach Dick Vermeil said to the 63 members of Penn State Brandywine’s graduating class on Friday, December 17 at the campus' fall commencement ceremony. “You must always be investing in your future.”
A day after winter weather blanketed campus with its first layer of snow this season, members of the class of 2010 began the first day of their post-college lives with a pep talk so rousing it made friends and family want to rush the field.
Vermeil, a football legend celebrated locally for his seven successful seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, inspired the new graduates with “thoughts I used to share with my players.” Though he recognized his NFL players were “bigger, faster and make more money,” the same lessons still apply.
“Your future, your career, belongs to you. Treat it with respect,” Vermeil advised. “Your future should not be held hostage by the things you didn’t do in the present.” He spoke about adversity, advising students to “remain positive and you will win. Never surrender your spirit to the tougher times.”
In keeping with a campus tradition, all graduates were allowed time to give thanks after being handed their diplomas by Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska.
Some had speeches prepared. “I believe that I am ready to embark on a future of my choosing thanks to this institution,” said Daniel Taylor, of Eddystone, who received a bachelor of arts degree in American studies.
Others were still in shock. “Wow. Four years ago I never thought I would be standing here graduating. Wow,” said a stunned Evan Romano, of West Chester, who also now holds a B.A. degree in American studies.
Some students had family by their side. Kennett Square resident Christopher McSweeney, who received a B.A. in communications, was joined by a grandmother who traveled all the way from Scotland. He thanked his family “who are walking across this stage with me.”
Other families watched from afar. Gilbertsville resident Muhammad Hashmi’s family was watching from Pakistan via the campus’ live feed available online during the ceremony. Hashmi gave thanks to America for his degree because “this wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.”
Cochranville resident Mariana Engle, who received a B.A. in letters, arts and sciences, sent her peers into the world as one. “Let’s show the world what Penn Staters are all about!” she encouraged her fellow graduates through tears after thanking her young son and husband.
Graduate Mariana Engle