University News

Healthcare Advocate Asks Class of 2018 “What do You Believe?”

Frances Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, gave the keynote address and received an honorary degree at the morning Commencement ceremony for graduates for the University’s College of Arts and Sciences and its Tagliatela College of Engineering.

May 15, 2018

Healthcare Advocate Asks Class of 2018 “What do You Believe?”
Frances Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

Leading healthcare advocate Frances Padilla told graduates of the University of New Haven’s College of Arts and Sciences and its Tagliatela College of Engineering that she draws inspiration from the nerve, audacity and resoluteness of others.

“Most often, it’s the seemingly small acts of bravery that have great ripple effects,” said Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, who delivered the keynote address during the morning Commencement ceremony on Saturday “You are not just the future. You are the now. This is a movement moment you are living in, and you are it.”

Padilla, whose work on policy development created the foundation for the landmark SustiNet legislation to provide affordable healthcare for Connecticut resident, asked members of the Class of 2018, “What kind of world do you want?

“I was reminded recently that we don’t know what a world without oppression looks like,” she said. “Winston Churchill once said that the key to success is to sustain from failure to failure, without losing enthusiasm. We have no choice but to keep trying and taking the risks needed to get there.”

She said a person’s values must be the driving force in summoning the courage to make a difference.

“You may not always be popular because of the positions or actions you take, but life isn’t a popularity contest,”Frances Padilla, President of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

“Why have I done the work I’ve done these past four decades?” she continued. “Because I believe that affordable and quality health care for all is an idea whose time has come. Because I believe we can create not just a better world but a truly just world. And, I believe it is my responsibility to contribute to that, passionately. What do you believe?”

Nicholas Mroczka ’18
Nicholas Mroczka ’18

As part of the ceremony, Padilla was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Baron Carlo Amato, a successful real estate investor and business executive with a passion for public service, was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Nicholas Mroczka ’18, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, told his fellow graduates that it was time for them to make the world better for generations to come.

“College is not necessarily the best four years of our lives, but what propels us for the rest of our lives – when we will be agents of change who actively participate in changing our living environment,” he said.

Chris Speicher ’18 M.A.
Chris Speicher ’18 M.A.

Chris Speicher ’18 M.A., vice president of operations for the Graduate Student Council, told the Class of 2018 that he believes true success comes from “accomplishing things that we are most afraid to fail.

“Be aware of how your successes and failures influence the lives of those around you,” he continued. “I believe the greatest accomplishments in this world come from sharing success with the people in our lives. I hope to forever be a student in that area.”

On May 12, the University of New Haven awarded nearly 1,600 degrees during two Commencement ceremonies celebrating the Class of 2018.