2016 Commencement

Stevenson celebrated its 63rd spring Commencement on May 18 for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and on May 19 for its traditional undergraduate students.

[My mom] said, ‘Brad, you’re looking at it all wrong. Instead of dreading every morning where you lose your vision, you have to look forward to the end of every day where you get your vision back for a while.’ It was a very rapid lesson for me to learn that there’s always a way to reframe our perspective, that there’s always a way for us to look for that silver lining, to look for the good in every person we interact with, to find good in every situation and in our futures, and leverage that positive perspective.

The keynote speaker for the undergraduate Commencement was U.S. Navy veteran and Paralympian swimmer Brad Snyder. A retired Navy Lieutenant, Snyder was severely injured in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in 2011. He sustained complete vision loss from the explosion. As a part of his rehabilitation process, Snyder, who served as swim team captain while at the Naval Academy, returned to the pool. After a few months of training, he was able to earn a spot on the U.S. Paralympic National Swim Team. At the 2012 Paralympics in London, he competed in seven events, earning two gold medals and one silver medal. His victory in the 400-meter freestyle occurred on September 7, 2012, which marked exactly one year from the day he suffered his vision loss. Snyder is currently training for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. He first spoke at Stevenson in August 2014 when he addressed incoming freshmen and their families at the University’s Convocation.


Stevenson also recognized Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide, with the University’s 6th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Award. Stewart leads the U.S. network of nearly 1,200 local and state United Way campaigns in an effort to create changes to improve lives. Under her leadership, the U.S. network engages thousands of local partners, more than 11 million individual donors and volunteers, and raises more than 3.9 billion dollars each year to rally around initiatives in these vital areas.

Both Snyder and Stewart received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Stevenson University’s highest academic honor.

Serving as keynote speaker for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies was Bradley Chambers, Senior Vice President of MedStar Health and President of Good Samaritan Hospital and Union Memorial Hospital. In this role, Chambers is responsible for the strategic and operational direction that enhances performance and supports ongoing efforts to build a stronger, more effective integration between these two hospitals, as well as system-wide clinical platforms.