Published 05/17/14

"Never let your brains go to your head," Dallas Fed chief tells graduates

Dark clouds gave way to sunny skies just in time for Bryant University’s 151 st Commencement on Saturday, May 17.

Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the nation’s principal monetary policymaking body, told the 754 graduates at that “success comes to those who best put their talents in context.”

Fisher, who also received an honorary doctorate in humane letters, saluted his brother, Michael Fisher ‘67, the outgoing chairman of the Bryant University Board of Trustees.

In his address to graduates, Fisher noted: “To achieve success, you will need to keep your superb education and your considerable talent in perspective. Brains and the gift of talent are necessary, but they are insufficient for success in life.”

He left the graduates with a quote from his own mother, “Never let your brains go to your head.”

The University awarded two other honorary degrees during Commencement.

  • Joyce M. Roché, president and CEO of the 150-year-old nonprofit organization Girls Inc. that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, received an honorary doctorate in human letters.
  • Scott C. Donnelly, the chairman, and chief executive officer of Textron Inc ., one of the world’s best-known multi-industry companies and a pioneer of the diversified business model, received an honorary doctorate in business administration.


Five members of Bryant’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Commissioning Service were officially sworn in as second lieutenants in the United States Army, prepared to accept the challenge of leadership..

President Ronald K. Machtley told the Class of 2014 it was unforgettable.

“This is one of the best classes that will ever step foot at Bryant University,” he said. “You had confidence and swagger. You have been everything we could ever hope for. We have marveled about how you have been so friendly to us here on campus.”

"Bryant has given us the tools to start a new chapter in our lives."

Ali Luthman (Worcester, MA) who spoke on behalf of the Class of 2014, took the podium and joked with President Machtley: “So, would this be a good time to take a selfie?”

Bryant garnered national headlines in the weeks leading up to Commencement after graduates were requested not to take selfies with President Machtley while receiving their diplomas in the interest of keeping the already hours-long ceremony running on time.

Luthman went on to remind her classmates that the University had “made us who we are.”

“Bryant has given us the tools to start a new chapter in our lives and we should all remember that there is someone out there who needs these tools as well, and we can be the ones to help them get there,” she said. “Bryant has helped bring you to this pivotal moment in your life, right here and now. Giving back to this great institution will also help someone else get here.”

Among the graduates was Ugonna Iheme, a Commencement award recipient who arrived at Bryant from Nigeria in 2010. She said her four years on campus had changed her. “I’m definitely more confident in myself and who I am as a person,” she said. “But I will miss many of the great relationships that I made here.”

The undergraduate Commencement culminated a week of ceremonies at the University:

  • Seventeen graduating student-athletes from four teams at a special Commencement ceremony held May 12. The student-athletes were not able to participate in the University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony because they are deep in tournament play.
  • On May 15, the University held another special commencement ceremony for several members of the men’s lacrosse team that upset second-seed Syracuse, 10-9, May 11 at the Carrier Dome. They were not able to make the May 12 ceremony because they were studying for or taking finals.
  • The graduate program Commencement was held on May 15, with 106 graduates receiving degrees. This was the first year the University awarded master’s degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. An an honorary degree was presented to Robert A. DiMuccio, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Amica Mutual Insurance Company.