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Heartwarming commencement speech drives 2014 graduating class

This year’s Winter Commencement speaker was 2012 NCC graduate LaToya Brown. She gave a memorable and inspiring speech to the nearly 1,000 attendees.

2012 NCC alum LaToya Brown gave this year's Winter Commencement speech
2012 NCC alum LaToya Brown gave this year’s Winter Commencement speech

“I can describe my Northampton experience as a number of things. It was scary coming back to school as a non-traditional student, challenging as I will soon describe and probably one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had to date.”

“But if I had to sum it up in one word, I would have to call it transformative. I say transformative because looking back, I can say with certainty that the woman who walked in those doors is not the same one who stands before you today, or even the one who walked across this stage just a year and a half ago.”

“What I gained that day was so much more than just a degree. I gained the experience of following a dream from conception to fruition, an ability that I wasn’t even sure I had just a few semesters prior. I had finally become a believer in my own abilities and with such belief came bigger and bolder aspirations.”

“What my Northampton experience has taught me is that you have more potential than you’re even aware of. The only limiting factor to what we are capable of doing is ourselves.”

“This graduation is the capstone on your Northampton academic experience but marks the beginning of an even greater journey. Whether you leave here today and enter the workforce, transfer to another academic institution or are undecided, know that whatever you can envision can be a possibility for you. Don’t see this day of completion as a day to stop dreaming, but as an invitation to dream bigger and bolder than ever before. This graduation is proof of your capabilities.”

“Be relentlessly in pursuit of your own vision of success, which is unique for each and every one of you. Believe that you each have something of substance to offer the world. Don’t let your fear deny the world an opportunity to experience your brilliance.”

“Whether you know it or not, Northampton has been transformative for you all. As you all sit here today, in your cap and gown, ready to celebrate this very special milestone in your lives…take a moment to reflect on your time here. The lessons you’ve learned, the obstacles you faced and how you’ve all overcome the challenges you once thought would stop your dream in its tracks. Now bask in the wonder of all you’ve accomplished. Remember this moment as you continue on your journey to your future selves. You too are capable of bringing dreams to life. Never stop dreaming. Congratulations to this year’s winter class. This is your moment.”