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Grandin tells graduates: Make a difference with ‘real projects’

Dr. Temple Grandin, an autism awareness advocate and professor of animal science, encouraged Providence College’s Class of 2014 to go out into the world and find out how it works.

“Get out there and do some real projects. Get some real stuff done, not abstract stuff,” Grandin said.

Grandin received a standing ovation after her Commencement Address at Providence College’s Ninety-Sixth Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 18, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

In all, the College awarded 1,257 degrees to members of the Class of 2014, including 962 undergraduate day school students. Degrees also were awarded to 221 graduate program students, 69 bachelor’s and associate’s recipients in the School of Continuing Education (SCE), and five honorary degree recipients.

The College has examined disability issues this academic year through a series of programs and events that began with the Freshman Common Reading Program book selection, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Doubleday, 2003).

Grandin is a “photorealistic visual thinker” and didn’t realize while growing up that everybody didn’t “think in pictures,” she said in her address.

“What I want to get you to do is think about the different ways people think,” Grandin said. “When I was young, I used to think everyone used to think in pictures like me.”

At one end of the autism spectrum, you have Albert Einstein, who had no speech until age 3 — and threw a lot of temper tantrums, too, she said. If he had been born today, “how many drugs would they be putting him on?” she asked. She noted she didn’t start speaking until age 4.

At the other end, “a little bit of an autism trait gives you everybody in Silicon Valley,” said Grandin, who is a professor at Colorado State University.

Read more about Commencement 2014.


Full video of Commencement Exercises 2014

Commencement Weekend 2014 photos

More from Commencement Weekend 2014

Top Scholars' Class Oration  Katerina Protsenko '14, Laura Wells '14 collaborated on valedictory speech.

Drogula Addresses Graduates    Accinno Award winner Dr. Fred K. Drogula delivers speech at Academic Awards Ceremony.

Commencement Mass Homily Father Shanley tells graduates: "The way lies open before you."

PC News

Plea to Class of 2014
Speaker Dr. Temple Grandin exhorts graduates to work on "real projects."

Bryce the Student
Basketball star Bryce Cotton ’14 made his mark in the classroom, too.

Scholar Power
Creativity, curiosity, and enthusiasm define Alanna Smith ’14, the College’s latest Fulbright recipient.

A Faith Deepened
Saadia Ahmad ’14, Muslim student on a Catholic campus, introduced Interfaith Dialogue Group.

Forever a Friar
Cowl columnist Matt Santos ’14, who majored in English and biology, was accepted early to Brown’s medical school.

Career Navigator
A resourceful Sarah J. Michel ’14 excitedly awaits joining global food giant Nestlé.

From Job Loss to Degree
Unemployment leads John McNeil ’14SCE to bachelor’s degree and new career.

A Legacy of Service
Dave O’Connor ’14 started community service initiatives that will continue long after he graduates.

Discovering Leadership
While excelling at PC, Taiwo Adefiyiju ’14 encouraged students at her former high school in Providence.

Life in the Lab
Ryan Post ’14 spends three years on neuroscience research, authors three papers published in scientific journals.

Top Students
Valedictorians Katerina Protsenko '14, Laura Wells '14 say coming to PC was the best decision they ever made.

Deirdre Driscoll ‘98G
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