MS Commencement Speaker: Christianah Adeoya, MS GHPM’22

May 22, 2022

Christianah AdeoyaGood morning, Dean David Weil, Associate Dean Maria Madison, all faculty and staff of the Heller School, my fellow graduates, family, and friends, joining us both in person and virtually. My name is Christianah Toluwalope Adeoya, and I am incredibly honored to be standing here today representing the 2022 graduating class of the Global Health Policy and Management program. My gratitude today is first and foremost to God, without whom I would not be standing before you today. To my family, I am eternally grateful for your immeasurable support throughout this journey.

To the faculty and staff of the Heller School, thank you for making Heller feel like home to us. Today, I count myself most privileged to be addressing one of the most diverse groups of intelligent minds I have ever been graced to be a part of.

 And now to my peers, I must first say “Congratulations!” You have put in the work and now you get to walk the talk. Thank you for choosing me to represent you as we take the next step of our careers into a world much more different than before.

Today’s world is indeed very different, and perhaps my saying that made you wonder, even if it was for the slightest second. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can all agree that it has been a roller coaster of strain after strain, wave after wave, mask mandates, travel restrictions, and a host of other ripple effects that we do not have enough Greek letters to describe. Our broken and hurting world pre-COVID did not get any better. And yet, I am most hopeful for us all.

Permit me to take a moment here to say, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone during this season. I know how difficult that can be to manage with being in grad school and I pray that you continually be comforted as the souls of the departed rest.

Coming to the Heller School was such a timely decision and the experience here has been one that I’m sure a lot of us will not forget. I believe most of us sitting in this space came to the Heller School with one underlying desire, a passion burning ever so brightly to see equity at its finest and facilitate well-oiled systems in various sectors across the nations of the world. For me, it pertained to the health care sector, for some, conflict resolution in war-torn areas, or creating sustainable impact in underdeveloped regions.

Everyone seated here came with a yearning  to see that there is peace and justice and that everyone receives what they deserve regardless of their socioeconomic status. After all, “the profit of the land is for all, even the King is served from the field.” I am happy to announce that your aspiration just got a huge upgrade, and for this reason, I am most expectant. The Heller experience has not only made us feel like a part of a community of ‘doers,’ but it has equipped us with the skills to forge ahead in this fight for social justice.

And so, if I could say one thing, it would be to FIGHT! Because to quote Benjamin Franklin, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” This is not the time to get comfortable with building a little niche for yourself and forgetting the burning passion that brought you here. This is the time to be righteously outraged and fight to see the world that we want future generations to live in.

To wrap this up, I remember the words of Nelson Mandela, “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

Friends, please do not forget this — you came with a good heart, you were equipped with a good head and skill… NOW is the time to roll up your sleeves and put your “something special” to work! It’s been a pleasure being with you all for the past nine months. See you at the top! Thank you!