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Moore’s 167th Commencement was held on Sunday, May 15, 2016 under a large tent in Aviator Park, across from the College.

This year, 100 undergraduates received Bachelor’s degrees in Animation & Game Arts, Art Education, Art History, Curatorial Studies, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design and Photography & Digital Arts during the ceremony.

In her remarks, Moore President Cecelia Fitzgibbon gave students one piece of important advice to take with them as they move forward in their careers: “Guard your reputation. It takes a lifetime to build and an instant to destroy. To build credibility, do what you say you will do.”

Kathleen “Kit” Kazmier ’16, an Illustration major from central New Jersey, was named the class valedictorian. She said she plans to freelance, create her own studio space and work on her social media presence.

“We have spent our time here mastering what it takes to be an artist. We have been taught, we have been trained, and we have grown. Art is no longer just what we do, it is who we are,” Kazmier said. “Life after graduation might lead you down a different path than you anticipated, and that’s okay. Just don’t forget what it is about art that made you fall in love with it in the first place. Surround yourself with artwork and what inspires you.”

Maria Sweeney, an Illustration major, was awarded the Happy Fernandez Women’s Leadership Prize, honoring the late Happy Fernandez, Moore’s seventh president. The $4,000 prize is presented to a graduating senior who participated in the college’s leadership programs.

Sweeney, a published illustrator who is entirely self-taught, has faced many personal challenges while at Moore. She has always remained positive, wearing a smile on her face. Sweeney said she attributes much of her accomplishments and achieved independence to her time at Moore.

“The ability to take chances is a vital (lesson) in every career and I am no longer hesitant about putting myself out there, for I am confident in myself as a woman in the arts and simply as a woman,” Sweeney said. “I feel prepared to be a leader in my career and perhaps, most importantly, I feel capable of leading myself as an individual, ready for what lies ahead.”

Moore presented the Marian Locks Endowed Award to Erin O’Brien, a Fine Arts major. The Marian Locks Award provides a graduating senior with outstanding potential in any discipline at Moore with the opportunity to jumpstart her career in art and design. Over the next five years, O’Brien plans to build a studio practice, attend artist residencies, and apply to graduate school. She eventually wants to teach in higher education.

Carol LaFayette, director of the Texas A&M Institute for Applied Creativity, a forum for collaboration across domains and disciplines, was the commencement speaker. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the graduation ceremony.  

In her speech, Lafayette told students: “The world so needs you, your creativity, your will to think different and the spaces you make for beauty, imagination and creation…

“I wish for you the courage to experiment, to insist on creating the conditions where it’s impossible to NOT make a space for yourself to experiment. I hope you do truly amazing things.”

Listen to Kit Kazmier's Valedictorian speech here

Listen to Maria Sweeney's speech here

Published on May 17th, 2016