Ben Baldwin, a graduating student who earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies with a major in IT management, was selected among high-achieving graduating students to address graduates at SPCS Commencement Exercises held May 7, 2016.

Baldwin, like many students in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, is a working professional. He works as an associate auditor of information security systems at the Auditor of Public Accounts for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He transferred a certificate in general education from Reynolds Community College to the University of Richmond and enrolled in the IT Management program in SPCS.

His address to students focused on the University’s mascot, the spider. Use a spider’s tenacity in building bigger and stronger webs as a metaphor, Baldwin reminded his fellow graduates that “we will never stop spinning our webs.”

Baldwin told a story about a spider outside his house that continued building larger and stronger webs after he swept each successive web away. The last web the spider built was huge, “beautifully fashioned and perfectly positioned to where I could not knock it over with ease.” This web, Baldwin remarked, was built to last — a quality he returned to as he likened University of Richmond degrees to webs that are built to last.

The many hours of reading, writing and classwork Baldwin likened to the “countless nights spent spinning our webs in class and studying during the evening after long days spent in other careers, raising families.” Despite challenges and adversity that kept knocking down webs, Baldwin recounted that he and his fellow graduates “are relentless, patient, and full of tenacity, and we craft beautiful webs, so that our families can survive, so that we can survive.”

Baldwin closed his remarks with a nod toward the future, a future made possible by tenacious commitment to completing the degree. “We will never stop reinventing and repositioning ourselves as needed,” he concluded, “and for a better, stronger future.”