COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 21) – Dean Lucy Dalglish’s comments to graduating Merrill College students during the fall, 2016 commencement exercise:

You are entering journalism at an exciting and unsettling time. Many of you covered the political conventions and election results for Capital News Service. You witnessed an exceptional political campaign. All journalists have had to learn a few hard lessons in recent months about balance, fairness and facts.

As Ted Koppel told us earlier this month during his visit to Merrill College, just because you have a laptop doesn’t mean you are a journalist.  But you ARE journalists.

You know that your communities – indeed, our democracy – needs timely, factual, fair and insightful coverage of the issues that matter, whether they be a presidential election or a local zoning controversy. You will speak truth to power, and shed light on the forgotten.

Do not be discouraged by officials who lie, fraudsters who make up stories, social media networks that perpetuate falsehoods  and members of the public who vilify you for your occupation. We are counting on you. We NEED you.

Finally, you have worked very hard to earn your degrees. Thank you – and your families – for trusting us with your education. You have brought us great joy and you make us proud.  Work hard, follow your inner ethical compass, value teamwork and be kind. If you do these things, you will do well.

Go out in the world and show everybody that you are Merrill Made.  Always consider Merrill College and the University of Maryland home.

Today you join a vast network of fellow alumni who are making names for themselves in journalism, business, law, and academia.

We hope that you will always feel comfortable returning to the people and places that have helped you launch this next phase of your life. And make sure you always keep us up to date on the great things you are doing.