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Robertson School graduates 120 students at December Commencement

Dec 9, 2018

Posted in: News

By Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Associate Director, and Natasha Long, Coordinator of Student Services

Sergio Bustos addresses the Robertson School graduates at commencement.

More than 120 graduate and undergraduate celebrated their college graduation at the commencement ceremony of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at the Richmond Convention Center on Dec. 7.

Director Dr. Hong Cheng and Dr. Donald Young, Senior Associate Dean of Finance and Administration at VCU's College of Humanities and Sciences, congratulated graduate students from the Strategic Public Relations Master's Program and seniors from the undergraduate advertising, public relations and journalism programs in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 relatives and friends. 

"The Robertson School's December 2018 commencement is a semi-annual highlight in the life of our students, faculty and staff," said Cheng. "We take pride in our School's educational philosophy and approach, based on 'real-world' experience and our students' demonstrated 'hit-the-ground-running readiness through our education."

Robertson School graduates listen to Sergio Bustos at commencement.

Cheng added that "We have many talented and hard-working individuals in our December 2018 graduating class, who have achieved a lot over the past few years in the Robertson School and at VCU. Most hearty congratulations to each of you and your family on your successful and happy graduation, a major milestone in your life and your career."

The commencement address was delivered by Robertson School alumnus Sergio Bustos, who is the World Editor of USA Today. Journalism instructor Vivian Medina-Messner introduced Bustos, who has worked for various news organization such as the Associated Press, Politico and the Miami Herald. 

"Whether you become a journalist in the digital world, or in television, or join a public relations staff of a big company or are assigned a major ad campaign, keep learning your craft. Use your tools. Know your audience. You may be leaving the classroom for good, but never stop learning," said Bustos, who graduated with a journalism degree from the Robertson School in 1984, then named the School of Mass Communications.

Robertson School graduates celebrate the successful ending of their college careers.

"I am forever grateful to a university that accepted a teenage Latino immigrant who grew up with a single mom and a single grandmother in Northern Virginia. Who could barely afford to be here as the first person in my family to attend college. Thank you, VCU. Thank you. Thank you for guiding me," he added. 

Bustos told the graduating students to "dedicate yourself to the story of the untold event that oozes instead of breaks; to the story that reveals, not repeats; to being the reporter who zigs instead of zags; to the truth as opposed to fake news; to the forest instead of just the trees; to the story they'll be talking about in the coffee shop on Main Street; to the story that answers not just who, what where, when and why, but also 'so what?'; to stories that portray real life itself; to journalism that 'wakes me up and makes me see;' to the revivial of the disappearing storyteller."

Robertson School Director Dr. Hong Cheng (middle) with commencement speaker Sergio Bustos and Professor Vivian Medina-Messner.

Cheng concluded the ceremony by instructing all graduates to move their tassles from the right side of their caps to the left side. 

"You're now embarking on a new journey into the path of self-fulfillment and bliss. We wish you enormous success and great happiness. We know you will follow Mr. Bustos' advice in his commencement speech — Enjoy and excel in 'the classroom of life,'" Cheng said.

You can view a digital photo album from the commencement ceremony on the Facebook page of the Robertson School. You can view the video of the ceremony below and on the Youtube channel of the Robertson School.