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Big Bang Theory: Clarkson speaker tells grads, ‘Be inspired’


POTSDAM - Bridges to Prosperity CEO Avery Bang received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University’s 121st Commencement.

The degree was awarded for her “commitment to engineering that benefits humanity, for her dedication to teaching sustainable engineering practices, for her work connecting communities to expanding opportunities, and for her leadership that inspires engineers and people in the developing world to join forces and build a better future.”

“As you embark on this incredible journey beyond Clarkson, I really suggest to you just one thing,” said Bang in addressing the students. “Don’t question your ability. Don’t get too wrapped up about which grad school to go to or what job or what salary point. Your success is forthcoming, I promise.”

“Be inspired. Do something to give back to society if you can. Definitely follow your dreams. Be available for your friends and family. Support your colleagues and siblings in their crazy, wild ambitions. Expect them to do the same.

“I’ll hedge my bets that as we all look back from the next decades to come, it’s not going to be about titles and accolades and progressive growth through a company. But it’s going to be about the people that we have touched and the lives that we have changed.

“If you have the ability, share that privilege and opportunity, that you’ve been given, with others. If mentoring is your thing, go be a big brother or big sister. If you’re into construction, like I am, maybe it’s showing up at a habitat for humanity site and getting some young person excited about engineering. Serve your local soup kitchen. Serve at your church. Whatever you do, I beg of you, please find inspiration in your day-to-day. Whether it’s at home, at your job, if it’s half a world away, it’s within each and every one of us.”

Bang believes that every person has a right to safe access — and she has built an innovative, scalable approach to act on that belief. Since joining Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) as a volunteer in 2006, Bang has developed a scalable model to ensure safe year-round access to schools, markets and health clinics through pedestrian bridge building and training in rural developing communities.

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