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Commencement exercises mark end of 50th celebration year

Apr 12, 2019

On Saturday, May 4, Flagler College will hold its spring commencement exercises and hand out more than 400 diplomas.

Headshot of Commencement Speaker Mignonne Pollard

Along with Alumni Weekend to take place May 16 - 19, this will mark the end of the college’s 50th academic year since its founding in 1968. To mark the occasion, Flagler has invited to speak alumna Mignonne Pollard, class of 1985.

The Flagler College magazine recognized Pollard as one of 50 alumni of distinction in a special 50th anniversary edition. A St. Augustine native, Pollard has traveled the world building bridges for the disadvantaged, especially in regards to education access. She has a Master of Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from New School University in New York City, and she completed her doctoral studies at Harvard University. Pollard worked for five years for the California Department of Education, lending her expertise that she honed while serving in the administrations of Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush. California Governor Jerry Brown last year appointed her as the Education Sector Outreach Manager for California Complete Count - Census 2020.

“My message is about the future, not the past, and how this graduating class can and will have the responsibility to shape the future of our democracy,” said Pollard.

On the students’ big day, she intends to connect with them through her address and center it around the students as global citizens. She said that Flagler is not the same school she attended, that students have offered to them more experiences and opportunities now.

“The school has changed, has grown, and it’s all for the better,” she said.

Pollard stressed that it is all about our civic engagement and how everyone can get involved, as she’s currently doing with the California census.

“If I can just help motivate them to participate and not give up in our democracy,” she said.

Pollard comes from a family of educators and said it has always been natural to apply an educational lens to everything she does. The work-related travel as well as her opportunities to pursue her master’s degree and later her doctorate, helped open her eyes even further to what the world can offer if one just goes for it.

“It’s the consistent focus on the goals, regardless of what’s going on around you,” she said.

Pollard will speak at the morning ceremony to take place at 9 a.m. at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The Public Administration Program ceremony will take place later that same day at 4 p.m. in the Lewis Auditorium, on Flagler’s campus. The ceremonies are not open to the public, but reserved for students and their families.

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