Bestselling Author Urges Penn State Abington Largest Graduating Class to ‘Take a Stand’

New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Otis Graham urged Penn State Abington graduate not to play it safe in his commencement address last week.

With Penn State Abington’s spring 2017 commencement moved indoors due to heavy rain, the campus community joyfully weathered a downpour of emotions as the 400 graduates — the largest class in its history — moved on to new challenges.

New York Times bestselling author and attorney Lawrence Otis Graham urged the Class of 2017 not to play it safe in his commencement address.

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“During a challenging time in our country when so many people choose not to take a stand, don’t play it safe,” said Graham, who referred to himself as a cultural troublemaker. “Push yourself to do something you have always wanted to try but that you backed away from simply because others said you would never succeed or because you weren’t 100 percent certain it would work.”

This is the largest graduating class in Abington history, with 12 associate, 386 baccalaureate, and two master’s degrees awarded. Among the graduates are 19 new teachers and 68 students who earned bachelor of science in nursing degrees.

Abington Chancellor Damian J. Fernandez reminded the graduates of the power of language.

“Today I invite you to take a pause, just a breather, and recall concepts that you learned at Abington and reflect on those words and their power,” he said.

“In a society that tends to overvalue action and undervalue thoughts, we would be well-served to consider words and their power because we make the world through words. We must care about them.”

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