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Class of 2014: Ready to take the reins

Science, technology and engineering continue to evolve at dazzling speed, and today’s technically-trained graduates will be drivers of future change, cybersecurity expert Donna Dodson told the class of 2014 during commencement on May 17th.

“Our smart grid, cloud computing, and mobile technologies that we rely on every day in every aspect of our lives are being developed and managed by you,” she said in her address at the event, which was also streamed to remote viewers via the web. “You will influence the types of decisions that will be made, and that will carry on into the future.”

It was an exciting message for the 76 undergraduate and 122 graduate students as they marked the completion of their degrees at Capitol, where they received a hands-on, practical education aimed at helping them stay ahead of the curve.

Capitol, now in its 87th year, trains for success and leadership in fields such as astronautical engineering, business, computer science, electrical engineering and information assurance, among others. It offers degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s levels, and in 2010 launched its first doctoral degree program, in information assurance.

“With your exceptional education that included that critical blending of theory and practice, you are better prepared to tackle the hard problems of today and tomorrow than almost anybody in the world,” said Dodson, who oversees the cyber security program at the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“I am so impressed with the faculty and the administration at Capitol College for having the vision to understand what graduates need to succeed today.” Dodson told the graduating class. “Having had the opportunity to understand the theory and also gain hands-on experience in applying that knowledge to real-world problems, you are equipped to take on these challenges.”

The commencement ceremony, held at the college’s campus in Laurel, Maryland, included remarks by Capitol president Michael T. Wood, an invocation by retired Presbyterian minister Rev. Robert Culp, presentations of scholarships and awards, and music performances by the Columbia Brass Quintet and tenor Andrew Exner, who is a member of the college faculty as well as its assistant director of foundation relations.

Exner sang "To Dream The Impossible Dream," from the musical Man of La Mancha-- a selection that recalled the college's commitment to overcoming limitations through innovation and resourcefulness. The Capitol motto is Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam, translated as "find a way or make one."

Higlights also included a speech by Judith Ibekweh, graduating with a B.S. in Management of Information Technology. She took the podium to share her experiences as a student from Nigeria.

Dodson's commencment address, meanwhile, stressed not only the importance of acquiring the right skill sets for success, but also of cultivating core values.

Recalling her own academic and career journey, as the first in her blue-collar family to attend college, she said her parents had instilled in her the importance of honesty, integrity and professionalism -- qualities that she also noted among her mentors and colleagues.

She urged graduates to open doors for others, as mentors had opened doors for her. And she called on the graduating class to aim high.

"I hope you'll take your enthusiasm, your ability to solve problems, and the innovation  that comes with that, and take the future on -- whether you have a career path that takes you into academia, government or business. Pursue your passion, never doubt yourself and leave the world with a little more kindess," Dodson said.

Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to education in engineering, computer science, information technology and business through practices of leadership and innovation. Founded in 1927, Capitol offers associate, bachelor’s and master's degrees, a doctor of science in information assurance, professional development training and certificates.

Academic programs are grounded in centers of excellence; these include the Space Operations Institute, the Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center, the Innovation and Leadership Institute, and the Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach. The college campus is located in Laurel, Maryland, a suburban setting midway between Baltimore and Washington, DC. www.capitol-college.edu.

Friday, May 30, 2014