Tavis Smiley at 108th Commencement weekend


SatGrad-110Nearly 1,280 students earned University of Indianapolis diplomas this year. Graduate exercises took place on Friday, May 3; undergraduate commencement followed on Saturday afternoon. Broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley, speaking at UIndy’s undergraduate ceremony, challenged graduates to address the nation’s growing economic disparity, which he called a threat to democracy.

“You have to have your own moral compass,” said Smiley, host of a nightly talk show on PBS as well as a show on Public Radio International. “If you can see the world through the prism of those who are disenfranchised, then that moral compass will serve you even better.”

Smiley, named among “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2009 by Time magazine, told the graduates that their academic achievements would give them not only opportunities in life but also responsibilities to their fellow citizens. He urged them to take leadership roles in fighting for the common good. This year, 428 graduate students and 849 undergraduates were eligible to receive diplomas in the weekend’s ceremonies. Ellen Annala, recently retired as president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, addressed the graduate students and their supporters on Friday. Annala has been at the forefront of United Way’s commitment to focus greater resources, relationships, knowledge, and talents to improve conditions for children.