Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu Addresses the Graduates of New England College of Optometry’s Class of 2020, Receives Honorary Doctorate

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Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu addressed 142 new Doctors of Optometry at the New England College of Optometry’s Class of 2020 online celebration. She was also bestowed with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the 125 year old college based in Boston's Back Bay.

"If you proceed in your careers as someone who not just thinks about the work in front of you but your role in shaping the larger community, you will always go to the place where you're most needed."

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu addressed the latest class to become Doctors of Optometry at the New England College of Optometry’s (NECO) Class of 2020 online celebration. With a formal, in-person ceremony postponed, Councilor Wu joined in the celebration by video to recognize the transition from student to doctor for the 142 graduates.

For her ongoing commitment to healthcare, education, and community, NECO awarded Councilor Wu the Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Councilor Wu addressed the graduates from her home in Roslindale, where she is a patient at NECO’s Center for Eyecare on Washington Street.

Her words of guidance and inspiration:

  • "Always see yourself as part of the community. You have already been there as students who have been practicing, interacting with the community, and giving back to those in need. If you proceed in your careers as someone who not just thinks about the work in front of you but your role in shaping the larger community, you will always go to the place where you're most needed."
  • "Think about the difference that you want to make in the world, not the position that you want to have. If you follow your heart and think about where you want to be, who you want to be helping, and what difference you want to make the decisions will be clear of what step to take next in the decision trees of life."
  • "I hope you always know that you'll always have a home in Boston. We're proud that we played a small role in nurturing you during your education. The City of Boston is an incredible place and we are a diverse, vibrant, welcoming, loving community so we would always love to welcome you back."

“Michelle is a community advocate and champion of healthcare access and equity. Her words are the genuine voice of experience,” NECO President Howard Purcell stated. “She is an inspiration to our graduates as they embark upon their careers in healthcare, many of them motivated by their clinical training within Boston’s vast network of Community Health Centers.”

NECO plans to reschedule the commencement ceremony on a yet-to-be-determined date. “We look forward to having Councilor Wu return for the formal commencement ceremony,” noted Purcell. Four years ago, being the “Class of 20/20” seemed a bit of whimsy to the future optometrists. Today, the Class of 2020 has a more dramatic meaning as the COVID-19 crisis not only affects their graduation, but marks the vital beginnings of productive careers.

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