Author James McBride, whose best-seller, “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother,” is read in schools across America, spoke to the Pace University graduating class of more than 700 in ceremonies held at the university’s Pleasantville campus.
The university presented McBride with a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his “inspirational literary excellence, searching and insightful examinations of American society, and dedication to educating the next generation through his writing and teaching.”
McBride told the graduates, “When you fail at something, come back and hit it again! You already know how to succeed. What you need to do now is learn how to fail.”
Sarah Daria Rahni urged her fellow graduates to “embrace each moment and make it meaningful.”
Pace University President Marvin Krislov, presiding over his first commencement at Pace, urged the graduates to “be curious and be confident. Be kind and be supportive. Be a good community member. Stay connected to one another. Celebrate each other’s success and support each other through challenges.”
David Swope was posthumously awarded an honorary degree. Swope, who died earlier this year, was deeply involved with community organizations such as being chairman of the Jacob Burns Film Center and serving on the boards of the Ossining Children’s Center, Phelps Memorial Hospital and Westchester Community College.