Commencement 2018: USC dean of religious life urges OT graduates to ‘take care of yourself’

The keynote address from Varun Soni, PhD, JD, MTS, MA,  USC’s vice provost for campus wellness and crisis intervention and dean of religious life, highlighted the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy’s 76th annual commencement ceremony at Leavey Library West.

Record numbers of American college students today, in what Soni has described as “a full-blown mental health crisis,” are reporting mental health challenges. In response, Soni acknowledged occupational therapy’s unique value to help students develop health-promoting habits, routines and self-care skills necessary to successfully meet the demands of life as independent young adults on campus.

“It took me a long time to realize a simple truth,” Soni said. “It is not selfish to take care of yourself.”

The May 11 ceremony conferred 10 bachelor of science degrees, 175 master of arts degrees, 56 doctorate of occupational therapy degrees and three occupational science PhD degrees.

— Mike McNulty