faculty process in at the 2024 graduation in the Liacouras Center

On Wednesday, May 8, more than 900 students from the College of Public Health and the School of Social Work, representing more than 31 degree programs, received their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the 58th College of Public Health graduation ceremony. The ceremony followed the full University Commencement at the Liacouras Center that conferred degrees on the nearly 9,000 students in Temple’s Class of 2024.   

“Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your success and making us better through your time as an Owl,” Jennifer Ibrahim, dean of the College of Public Health, told graduates in her opening remarks. "I assure you that you will be able to find success every single day, whether it is in the face of a patient that you helped, the aha moment for a student that you may teach, or a new research finding. We are immensely proud of you today and every day. We cannot wait to watch and see what you do tomorrow. Now go out and show the world what it means to be Temple Made.” 

Graduation speakers Jose and Beatriz Garces shared their experiences as socially conscious entrepreneurs and founders of The Garces Foundation, which works to improve public health in Philadelphia through programs for immigrant communities. Beatriz Garces, a graduate of Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry, has her own private practice and has worked in community dental clinics and prisons. 

"These experiences challenged me to expand my skills and deepen my understanding of compassionate care,” she told the graduates. "They also reinforced the values instilled in me by Temple—a commitment to serving those in need, regardless of their circumstances. As you embark on your own professional journey, carry with you the values instilled by Temple—integrity, compassion, and a commitment to excellence.” 

Jose Garces, the James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef and restaurateur, encouraged graduates to follow their passions to discover success. 

“Find a niche, an area of expertise. Look at the landscape, look at the market and find a space to create for yourself where you can succeed and excel,” he said. “I started out lacking in well-defined goals but ended up as a leader in my field. Many failures come from pushing past your comfort zone, by trying to accomplish the things that drive you, despite the odds that are stacked against you. Only by allowing ourselves to strive for what we cannot easily achieve are we able to grow past where we are.” 

The day was especially momentous for the first graduating college class fully impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those receiving degrees had their high-school commencement ceremonies curtailed in 2020, their proms canceled, and their early college days marked by isolation and remote classes.   

“Class of 2024, we did it!” student speaker Irene Frempong exulted, reminding fellow graduates of the unique challenges they confronted.  

“Now as we venture out into the world, remember that the world depends on us and what we as public health students have acquired,” said Frempong, a bachelor of science in public health student who is continuing at Temple to pursue her master of public health in health services administration and policy. “Be confident enough to know you deserve a seat in any space you find yourself. Whether you find yourself dealing with patient-level care, addressing health disparities, doing research, addressing the deeply rooted systemic injustices, or advocating for new policies...be bold and courageous. Seek to be the standard wherever you find yourself.” 

View the graduation ceremony recording.