I have been president for one week. This morning I shook hands with the first graduating class of an exciting new program offered at UHD.
Some of you are saying, "Huh? Didn't he just become president? How is he already doing a graduation ceremony?" Believe me, that's what I thought when I was asked to lead the commencement. Today, was the graduation exercise of the First Master of Security Management for Executives (MSME) cohort. Eleven working professionals received their master's degree today.
The program, jointly operated by the College of Public Service and the College of Business, is quite impressive and unique, as it prepares students for global security positions and, in addition to UHD faculty, includes working professionals as instructors. Over half of the class have either received promotions or significantly expanded their duties and responsibilities as a direct result of their participation in the program. Allow me to offer a few examples.
One student began as a sergeant in a local police department and now manages global security operations and risk for a security company. His capstone project addressed many of the open sea piracy issues we have witnessed on the news recently.
A second student began the programs as an assistant with one company and was hired by another company to manage a multi-billion dollar project as a result of her participation in the first year of the MSME program. She is now writing global policies.
A third student is the security coordinator for a multinational energy corporation. Early on in the program, he assigned to lead a sensitive investigation overseas on very short notice. His first call was to one of his professors in the program. His second call was to a fellow classmate who was able to connect him with needed support nearby to address the crisis.
And then there's president of the MSME student organization, who started his career in the military, went on into local law enforcement and is now an assistant director for a global security company. In his comments before his fellow students, he cited "the elements that make this program superior are the exceptionally qualified faculty, the integration of security courses and the business courses, and the support of each other." He made it clear that he along with his fellow students "are proud to have 'plowed the field' for subsequent cohorts and pledged to honor the MSME title with extraordinary professional careers."
The class chose the name Pathfinders. That they are. They have set a high bar. Like so many students at UHD, they are first class! Congratulations!