Tag Archives: The Home Depot

Berry 2019 Commencement

Mahmood “Momo” Abdellatif receives his diploma from President Steve Briggs before a huge crowd on the Evans lawn.

“Live life less filtered.”

This was the advice John Coleman (04C) offered to the class of 2019 at spring commencement.

Coleman – the 2012 recipient of Berry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award – is no stranger to the Berry podium, having spoken at his own graduation and at Mountain Day. This time, he shared his insights with 410 undergraduates and hundreds of additional guests gathered on the Evans Hall lawn (20 graduate students received their diplomas at a separate ceremony).

Repeatedly referring to today’s social media society, the Harvard MPA/MBA graduate and Invesco executive addressed the dangers of the unrealistic expectations it presents.

“We keep our relationships superficial and unreal, so concerned with putting our best foot forward that we forget to extend a hand,” Coleman said, encouraging graduates to embrace the messier aspects of life, rather than constantly polishing and filtering the version of their story that they share with the world.

After his own graduation, Coleman faced a series of struggles: unsuccessful jobs, break-ups, small apartments and couch surfing. In sharing these experiences, he also touched on the lessons he learned and how he has grown since then. Living life less filtered, he said, means embracing and being honest about the good and the bad in life. He emphasized the importance of opening up to others, asking for and giving help when it is needed.

“Today, you’re Berry College alums,” he said. “I know that you can do this.”

Based on their accomplishments so far, we heartily agree! A quarter of this year’s graduates will move on to graduate/professional school, studying everything from law and epidemiology to computer science and poultry nutrigenomics. Others are starting work right away with companies like Nike, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot and Disney. Our charge to them is simple …

STAY IN TOUCH! And be sure to drop us a class note for Berry magazine from time to time. Come to think of it, that goes for the rest of you as well! If you haven’t sent us an update lately, click here and do so today!

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

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This photo, mailed by Sean Durity's grandfather in 1944, arrived 67 years later, just in time to provide comfort to his ailing grandmother in the final weeks of her life.

Sean Durity (93C) may not be a full-time writer, but that doesn’t diminish the power of his prose. Last year, a story he wrote about the eternal bond shared by his late grandparents touched hearts around the globe after being published by Yahoo! and shared via social media. His account was so moving that it was selected from thousands of nominees as one of five winners in the Yahoo! Contributor Network’s 2011 Content of the Year contest.

“Sometimes a story is so unusual that it travels around the world seemingly in a split second,” wrote Y! Jelena, the community coordinator for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. “That was the case when Sean told the story of a package [see accompanying photo], delivered 67 years late, that came just in time to comfort his grandmother in her last weeks of life.”

Sean marvels at the more than 700,000 page views generated by his story, which was featured on the Yahoo! front page the same day as the royal wedding. The husband and father of three took up freelance writing as a hobby/experiment in 2011, first detailing his daughter’s struggles with mitochondrial disease. He has since published approximately 60 articles on various Yahoo! pages. When he’s not writing, Sean works as a lead database administrator for The Home Depot. He and his family live in Mableton, Ga. More coverage.

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