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Carolina December graduates were urged to be tenacious, earn trust and take chances as they leave college and start the next chapter of their lives.

“The more confident among you are saying, ‘I know I am talented but how do I get the chance to use my talent?’ Not to worry. Take chances, be tenacious and your talents will triumph,” Myron S. Cohen, M.D., told graduates at Sunday’s Commencement.

Chancellor Holden Thorp presided at the Commencement ceremony held at the Dean E. Smith Center. More than 2,400 students had applied to graduate on Sunday, including 1,299 bachelor’s, 766 master’s, 277 doctoral and 68 professional students.


Cohen told the graduates that doors will open at different moments in their lives and they will have no idea which is the right door or where the doors will lead.

“But there are no wrong doors. There will be an important experience on the other side of each and every door,” Cohen said. “When the time comes, go through the door. Whatever doors you chose there will always be dots to connect as you look backward.”

Cohen, the J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology and public health, is an acclaimed physician and researcher who has spent the past three decades studying the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. As the architect and principal investigator of the multinational National Institutes of Health HIV Prevention Trials Network, Cohen was instrumental in showing that antiretroviral treatment prevents the sexual transmission of HIV-1. This work was recognized by Science Magazine as the “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2011.

Read more.

Read Cohen’s full speech.

Published December 17, 2012.