Military veterans, working parents, retirees, and other adult students celebrated their hard work and each other at the diploma ceremony for Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) on May 16.
Their friends and families—including many small children—filled the seats of the McGinley Center Lounge on the Rose Hill campus. Adding to the excitement was the presence of the first graduating class of the school’s new master’s degree program in cybersecurity.
Speaking on behalf of all the graduates, Jim McCormack, a medically retired sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, took the stage to loud cheers and applause.
“I can honestly say that I would not be standing here in front of you today had it not been for the men and women in the military community,” said McCormack, who lost his financial stability and eventually his home after being injured in Iraq. “They helped me to my feet.”
He looked for a veteran-friendly school that reflected their values and his own, and said he found that at Fordham.
The 2008 financial crisis and the unethical practices behind it inspired him to study business at PCS. “I had realized that all business decisions have a subsequent effect on human lives,” said McCormack, who graduated with a 3.985 GPA.
“We must prove to the world that future leaders can be successful, honest, and civically motivated.”
McCormack began working with Hudson Valley Bank last fall as a software developer and hopes to start his own software company devoted to artificial intelligence research. He said he’s been inspired by his classmates and their “tales of perseverance,” from the “disabled veteran trying to make her life better,” to the “foreign student who wishes to bring these values home to help his local community,” to the “single mother of two working double shifts in order to support her family and her education.”
“I’m a firm believer that anyone can do anything,” he said. “And you are my proof.”